November 13, 2009

Concentrate on Nairobi battle, Okocha advises Eagles

Former Super Eagles captain, Austin Jay Jay Okocha has reiterated the stance of the coach of the Black Mambas of Mozambique, Mart Nooij that they should think more of the encounter against Kenya than what Tunisia will play in Maputo.

Okocha who is a member of the Presidential Task Force set up by the Federal Government to help the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, salvage the slipping 2010 World Cup ticket said that what matters most to the Eagles was the Nairobi tie.

According to a report on, Okocha told them to “Concentrate on your match before counting on any eventual defeat of Tunisia in Mozambique”, b


ecause even if Tunisia lose the Maputo tie, it makes no sense to the Eagles if they fall in Nairobi.

The Eagles are two points behind Tunisia who play in Maputo today at the same time that Nwankwo Kanu and his team mates battle it out with the Harambee Stars of Kenya.

“The team have to do everything to secure victory in Nairobi where our opponent would be battling to pick a ticket for the Orange Africa Cup of Nations. For the Super Eagles, there is no other option than victory”.

Okocha who was granted a linksman role for the players in the Task Force relates the Eagles present situation to the one of 2002 preparatory to the Korea/Japan World Cup.

Barely two days to the end of that year’s qualifier, Liberia and Sudan were topping their group with 12 points each, Nigeria was third with 10 points while Ghana that had six points was yet to say its final word. The Ghanaian side went and picked a victory in Monrovia while Nigeria won in Khartoum, “but we concentrated on our game in Khartoum,” he recalls.

“We had a difficult training in Kano for us to acclimatise against the harsh heat we were to meet there. We won by four goals to zero while Ghana did us a favour by winning in Monrovia. We did not bother about any other match other than ours”.

Everybody in Nigeria today is only talking about the match in Maputo, hoping that the Mozambicans beat Tunisia. The team and all its supporters have to focus on the absolute necessity to win in Kenya. The rest is just debate…”