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Semi-final target no longer realistic, Lagerback

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By John Egbokhan
Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Lars Lagerback, has told the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) that the 2010 World Cup semi-final mandate given to him was not realistic, within the short time frame that he has to work with the national team.

Eagles Coach

The 62-year-old Swede-born coach, who signed a five-month contract with the NFF that started running on March 1 after former handler, Shaibu Amodu, was demoted to the Home Eagles, on account of the poor showing at the 27th African Cup of Nations in Angola in January,  was given the herculean mandate to tinker the team to a last four finish in South Africa, if he is to stand any chance of earning a long-term deal at the expiration of his current deal.

But after weighing the chances of his team against other oppositions at the Mundial, Lagerback, who is currently in Durban, to inspect Eagles camp site alongside other bigwigs of the NFA and the Sports Minister, Ibrahim Isa Bio, has now said the mandate is not achievable.

Speaking on the coach’s U-turn, Sani Lulu’s Personal Assistant, Tunde Aderebigbe, said in Abuja that after examining the opposition expected in South Africa and the time Nigeria has to prepare for the event, the coach noted that the Super Eagles would do well at the World Cup but did not guarantee a semi-final ticket as requested by the federation.

Aderibigbe noted that the federation was desirous of a good Eagles outing at the tourney to celebrate Nigeria’s 50 years, stressing that the federation would do everything possible to ensure the Eagles did not fail. When he got the job he said it was possible to take Nigeria to the last four.

The coach said reaching the semi-final of the tournament in South Africa was going to be a tall order in view of many factors on ground but promised that the Eagles would do well at the World Cup”, said Lulu’s Personal assistant.

In a related development, assistant coach Augustine Eguavoen has promised to give equal opportunity to the 44 players invited for camping. Eguavoen also disclosed that Lagerback would have the final say in picking the final list of 23 players.

Speaking on Brila FM, the former Eagles coach said “We will also expect the invited players to have a sense of understanding, especially with the final list (when out) because all of them will not be at the World Cup at the same time.”

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