A Lagos lawmaker, Yinka Ogundimu, on Sunday in Lagos urged Super Eagles’ coach Gernot Rohr to create competition among his players by scouting for more talents.
Ogundimu said that this would help to actualise Nigerians’ wish to see the Super Eagles spring surprises at the Russia 2018 World Cup.
He said the team needed more of strikers who are sharp and clinical to spring any surprise at the world tournament.
The lawmaker, who represents Agege Constituency II and chairs the State House of Assembly Committee on Finance, however commended the Super Eagles on their early qualification for the World Cup.
“I think we should first congratulate ourselves for achieving this feat of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
“Even before the end of the qualifying series, we have been able to secure our ticket, and it is a good sign for us that the team will make Nigerians proud at the World Cup.
“However, the players and coaches should know that the work just begun,’’ Ogundimu, who is a former footballer, said.
He said the coach “needs to really do more and look for more players where we lack and create a very good competition among players in the team’’.
“We should not rely solely on the players we are using presently. We need about three sets of players in each of the wings so that every player has to fight for shirt.
“We need to pick the best among the best, because this is not an African competition but a world event.
“We need to do more in getting perfect and clinical attackers because we lost so many scoring opportunities in our last match against Zambia,’’ Ogundimu said.
He said the match between Nigeria and Zambia would have ended with four or five goals in Nigeria’s favour if the Nigerian squad had got perfect finishers,
“We had difficulty converting those opportunities to goals, if not for the introduction of Alex Iwobi which gave us the lone goal that made the Eagles to fly.
“The goal was a fast ball and the ball was already in Zambia’s net before their goalkeeper knew it. We need good finishers who are more skillful and innovative.
“If we have such, it will help us in our dream at the World Cup.
“If we feel relaxed with what we have, there will not be high spirits and we need to create this. We should not be carried away, preparation has just started,” Ogundimu said.
He urged Rohr and his players to make names for themselves by putting their house together before the tournament.
The lawmaker said the players and their coaches should know that Nigerians were waiting for a standard outing in Russia.
He said team spirit and determination would help Nigeria to go beyond the quarter-finals stage at the tournament.
“The coach should go back and look at the 1996 Olympics squad and consider the potential that will offer us what will shock the world in 2018.
“We had in every department of that 1996 team the best hands and we can still have such talents around us. Let us get them.
“Rohr must try to open the camp for competition and scout for the best Nigerians playing everywhere.
“If we look for them, the Super Eagles can spring a surprise at the tournament,’’ Ogundimu said.
The lawmaker also urged governments at all levels to play their roles in encouraging and creating enabling environment for the development of football.
Nigeria qualified for the 2018 World Cup after beating visiting Zambia 1-0 in Uyo on Oct. 7 in a Match Day 5 fixture in the qualifiers’ Group B.
The Super Eagles are the first African team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, holding a six-point lead over second-placed Zambia in their group with one match remaining.