By Jacob Ajom
Former Nigeria international, Sylvanus Okpalla has said that today’s friendly match between the Super Eagles and Argentina at the Krasnodar Stadium, Krasnodar, is a serious business and he expects the Nigerian players to see it as such.
Speaking with Sports Vanguard ahead of the friendly holding in far away Russia, Okpalla said, “there are no more friendly matches these days. Every match counts as no team want to lose. If you see the way they tackle and the seriousness put into every match then you will realise there are no friendlies any longer.”
He urged the World Cup-bound Super Eagles to go all out for a win, notwithstanding, whether there are no points to be won, because a victory will heighten the level of confidence in the team before the World Cup.
“The result is relevant,” Okpalla noted, adding, “when you continue to win you gather a momentum and your confidence grows. There are no friendlies these days. Argentina would want to win. I don’t expect less from Coach Rohr and his wards.”
The former Rangers coach said the current set of Super Eagles had done well, particularly in the World Cup qualifiers. “They took off very early and never looked back. Before the likes of Zambia and Cameroon knew what was happening Nigeria had taken a firm grip of the group.”
He also praised the coaching crew and the Nigeria Football Federation for the smooth prosecution of the qualifiers, saying, “for the first time, there was no quarrel between players and officials over bonuses or return tickets. They deserve our collective praise.”