Ebonyi football fans have pleaded with football fans in the country over the Super Eagles 2-0 loss to Serbia in a friendly on Tuesday in London.

Ebonyi football fans plead with Nigerians over Super Eagles loss to Serbia
Nigeria’s midfielder Ogenyi Onazi (2R) shoots but fails to score past Serbia’s defender Matija Nastasic (L) during the International friendly football match between Nigeria and Serbia at the Hive stadium in Barnet, north London on March 27, 2018. / AFP PHOTO

The fans in an interview on Thursday in Abakaliki pleaded with Nigerians not to crucify the Super Eagles over the 0-2 loss to Serbia in the friendly.

Commenting on the outcome of the match, the fans, however, noted that the NFF and the team’s technical crew had lots of work to do before the World Cup.

Emmanuel Uzor, Chief Press Secretary to Gov. David Umahi, said the match provided the essence of friendly games which was to reveal the actual condition of teams.

“The match is a wake-up call on the players and coaches that several issues need to be addressed before June, for the country to perform credibly at the world Cup.

“All aspects of the team need to be reviewed and strengthened and the players need to be adequately motivated to perform optimally,’’ he said.

Sule Abubakar, Head of Sports Development of the Hausa community in Ebonyi, urged the NFF to urgently address the issue of Captain John Mikel Obi’s unavailability for national call-ups.

“The skipper is sorely missed in the two matches as the situation is reminiscence of the AFCON 2019 qualifier against South Africa when he and other top players were missing.

“All issues concerning his work permit need to be sorted out before the next set of friendlies because serious contenders for the World Cup are presently playing with their best players,’’ he said.

Chief Abel Nwankpuma, a hotelier, urged Coach Gernot Rohr to stop experimenting at this stage and stick to the starting team which ensured Nigeria’s World Cup qualification.

“The coach used the friendlies to experiment and I believe that he has assessed the players and determined their capabilities to perform at the world stage.

“He should now use the remaining three friendly opportunities to assess his starting team and experiment on formations instead of players,’’ he said.

Billy Agbai, Goalkeeper Trainer of Bright Light FC of Abakaliki, urged Rohr to give opportunities to some experienced players in the remaining friendly matches.

“Rohr should test Austin Ejide who is presently performing well in Israel if he has no confidence in Ikechukwu Ezenwa because Francis Uzoho is inexperienced for such a big stage.

“Uzoho did not inspire confidence during both friendlies but Ezenwa has been consistent since the qualifiers, while Ejide can offer the needed experience having been to previous World Cups,’’ he said.

Mrs Uzomma Chukwunweike, a Physical and Health Education Teacher, also called for the re-assessment of players such as Obafemi Martins and Efe Ambrose.

“The Eagles attack spearheaded by Odion Ighalo has been blunt with the goals coming from schemers such as Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi.

“Obafemi Martins with his experience can be tried in the next friendlies due to time constraints while a more experienced Efe Ambrose can supplement Leon Balogun instead of the rookie — Chidozie Awaziem,’’ she said. (NAN)


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