Enugu – Former Green Eagles goalkeeper Emmanuel Okala on Monday said he was confident the Super Eagles players would spring surprises at the 2018 FIFA World Cup with their present form.
“With the present crop of players, the future looks bright for the Super Eagles, even at the 2018 FIFA World Cup proper,’’ Okala said in Enugu.
Nigeria qualified for Russia 2018 after a 1-0 win over Zambia in Uyo on Saturday, with an unassailable six-point lead after five matches in Group B.
Okala, who is a former Super Eagles Goalkeeper Trainer, said he could see the needed “fighting spirit in the present Super Eagles’’.
“They stop at nothing, except success. The way they played against Zambia showed that uncommon commitment to make the country proud.
“Saturday’s match against the Chipolopolo of Zambia was the most difficult in the series of matches played by the Super Eagles so far in the World Cup qualification.
“However, looking at the match critically, one can see a determined Super Eagles who held their visitors down until a victory goal came in the 74th minute,’’ he said.
Okala advised that all the players in the present Super Eagles squad should be retained for the World Cup finals.
“At this stage, consistency matters. The team should be kept together, and activities and programmes which allow for more bonding should be put in place,’’ he advised.
NAN reports that Saturday’s match was tension-soaked, with the Super Eagles missing many goalscoring chances until the 74th minute when Alex Iwobi scored the winning goal.
Iwobi’s entry as a substitute to Moses Simon in the second half of the match changed the tempo of the game to put smiles at on the faces of the team’s fans.
NAN reports that FIFA has scheduled the 2018 FIFA World Cup tagged “Russia 2018’’ for June 14 to July 15 in Russia.(NAN)