By Eddie Akalonu
Former StationeryÂ Stores of Lagos and Bendel Insurance of Benin Football Clubs striker, Nicholas Ubido has said he has no fears about the Super Eagles World Cup campaign despite the teamâ€™s late preparation and lack of friendly matches.
Ubido said the Eagles will be the team to beat because they are now being handled by a very capable coach in Lars Lagerback.
He said â€œIâ€™m okay with the list of players even though Nigerians have not gotten a feel what our team looks like but the coach has gone about the job in a cool and calculated manner that makes it easy.
I have seen that the coach has quietly been doing his bit of the job which makes my confidence grow, he is a man out to instillÂ a new character into them. What is required now is for players to respond with performance and we will be back on winning ways once more.â€
It appears to me that the players willÂ make a strong impactÂ in the World Cup as I see Lagerbackâ€™s selection of players and tacticsÂ for games as key.â€
Ubodo said that despite the high rating being ascribed to Diego Maradonaâ€™s Argentina, the Super Eagles are the team to bet in South Africa, stressing that the 30-man list drawn by Lagerbck is a collection of the countryâ€™s best.
â€œMy confidence in our team has so grown since the sacking of Shaibu Amodu and subsequent engagement of Lagerback, who I see as a man with a mission to change and make success of Nigeriaâ€™s football. So, in South Africa, Argentina, Greece South Korea and others are going to see a totally different Nigeria,â€ he said.
Continuing, he said, â€œNow people may see the list of players as ordinary but I feel there is more. Yes, they are people we know but coaches do re-order, and assign new roles and thatâ€™s what I think is going to happen. That means he already knows what we have and how he is going to do it in South Africa, different from the team we saw in Angola last January.â€
â€œIn-fact NFA wasted so much time before removing Amodu who could not inject some new blood into the national team when some of the players he had paraded had either lost form or were due for retirement but he kept them on.
Ubido stressedÂ that he foresees Lagerback building a great team, given his vast experience and the knowledge he packs.
â€œNowÂ heâ€™s gotten young players in and some spread of friendly games to be played. Mind you, we obviously have talents Lagerback has identified and with the discipline and professional touch he has introduced, along with the toughness and style of execution of games , Iâ€™m very positive our participation will yield dividends,â€ Ubido added.