Lagerback Drops Bombshell
By Tony Ubani
AS the zero hour to the World Cup approaches swiftly, Green Eagles boss Lars Lagerback has hinted that he would not tolerate distraction in the Eagles camp in Durban and the World Cup proper. The Swede whose World Cup prep beginsÂ May 21 in the Sun City has declared that it would be strictly off limits to wives of players and girlfriends.
Sports Vanguard can exclusively reveal that the Swede had informed the Nigeria Football Association, NFA, and the players of his hardline posture towards exempting the playersâ€™ wives and girlfriends from the Camp and the World Cup proper.
â€œWe are there to play, not for a holidayâ€, Lagerback was quoted to have said by Image Maker of the NFA, Ademola Olajire.
â€œLagerback will not have any of those. He made it clear he will not tolerate liquor, wives or girlfriends at the camp and the World Cupâ€, Olajire emphasised. After taking over from Amodu Shuaibu who qualified the team to the World Cup, Lagerback wants to instil discipline in the team to be able to get the best out from them. He has rolled out a-44-man list to be trimmed down to a reasonable size before pruning it down to the final 23 FIFA standard.
I gathered from knowledgeable sources around him that the Swede was a strict disciplinarian and had communicated his stance of not having wives and girlfriends to the players in his trips to assess them in their clubs. â€œFor us to do well at the World Cup, we have to do without distractions.
We have to work a lot to knit the players together. We need full concentration to approach the first round matches. They are more important. If you do not cross the first round, definitely, you cannot win the world cup or get a respectable outingâ€, the Swede was also quoted to have said.
And Lagerbackâ€™s crackdown is coming on the heels of an advice by former Eagles Manager, Clemens Westerhof who advised that Lagerback must go tough on discipline in camp if he thinks of doing well in the World Cup. Westerhof, himself a strict disciplinarian said that Nigerian players need a hardliner to stay together.
The Green Eagles camp to Tunisia Nations Cup under Christian Chukwu rumbled under allegations of sex scandal that eventually made Chukwu expel three players – Victor Agali, Yakubu Aiyegbeni and Celestine Babayaro. The team battled to win bronze in the competition.