By John Egbokhan
Coach Gernot Rohr has warned his Super Eagles players to brace themselves up for a tough adventure when the group stage draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup is made on December 1, at the State Kremlin Palace, Moscow.
Eagle became the first African team to reach next year’s football show-stopper, when they defeated Zambia 1-0 a fortnight ago in Uyo, but were later joined by Egypt, who overpowered Congo 2-1, leaving the rest of the continent contending for the three slots up for grabs when the final round of matches are played next month.
With qualification soon to be over, preparations are reaching feverish pitch in Russia for a crucial date in the build-up to next summer’s tournament.
And as the zero hour approaches swiftly, Eagles coach has stressed the importance of the Eagles to play top teams from Europe and South America in order to get them in tip-top shape for the World Cup finals.
Speaking yesterday Rohr said, “we must be ready to face the best teams in the world in the group stage and that is why we need to play friendly matches against top teams from Europe, as we are surely going to have one top European nation in our group at the next World Cup.
‘’We are also going to be ready to play against a top South American team in the group stage of the Russia 2018 because they will also be amongst the seeded teams in the tournament. That is why I am appealing for quality friendly matches against teams from these two continents because there is no way we can escape facing them in the tournament’’, added Rohr, who guided Eagles to Russia 2018, with one game to spare.
He further hinted that he would be inviting new players to the Eagles fold in the next matches to be played ahead of the World Cup finals.
‘’We would be inviting new players to the team because we are looking for ways to improve this team and we can’t foreclose what good can come out of new talents. The World Cup is a big tournament and we need to prosecute it with the best players. The friendly matches will give us an idea of what these new players can offer the team and we would take it up from there’’, said Rohr.