By Eddie Akalonu
As the Eagles begin their World Cup campaign against Argentina in Johannesburg today, coach Tony Ukeachu has said though the match is a tricky one for the Eagles, both sides have equal chances of carrying the day.
â€œItâ€™s a tricky one for us because Argentina is one of the best rated teams in the world. However win, lose or draw in this game, Nigeria can still subdue both South Korea and Greece in the next games to advance to the second round of the competition,â€ he said.
Although Ukeachu, had in the past spoken against the engagement of a foreign coach until Lars Lagerback came, the former Udoji United, Enyimba and Iwuanyanwu Nationale handler now says from management point of view there has been transformation in the team hence he has given his approval of the Swede coachâ€™s efforts.
â€œI have realised he has warmed himself into the players, and they now have confidence in him. That is what the team lacked before. Confidence means players can now understand and adopt his coaching philosophy. Good for us because contrary to bookmakers predictions, chances are that if a tremendous effort is put in by the players, they could handle the South Americans.
Argentina is big quite alright but this is the World Cup and the three warm up games they played have shed some light about our team. So the responsibility now is on the players, we are counting on them to do what most Nigerians least expect of them. They can as far as I know and I think that if they give it their best shot.
Forget Messi, Millito and others on the opposite side, we also have our own players who over time have not only demonstrated the ability to turn games to their clubâ€™s favour but also are match winners any day. Therefore no matter what is said or done, we have an equal chance as Argentina to win this first game.
I prefer if we could try to draw it and then target Greece and Korea for victories and those would see us go through,â€ he explained.