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Etebo, Mikel ‘ll cage Messi, cause upsets

By Tony Ubani
The prospects of the Super Eagles coming out unscathed in their Group D World Cup qualifier against heavyweights Argentina and Croatia have brightened with the dazzling performances of midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo against star-studded Barcelona.

Nigeria’s Mikel John Obi (C) celebrates with teammates William Ekong (L) and Odion Ighalo after scoring a goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying football match between Nigeria and Cameroon at Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, southern Nigeria, on September 1, 2017. / AFP PHOTO

Etebo who shone brilliantly against the Messi-led Barca has received rave reviews after checkmating Messi in their dogfight that saw struggling Las Palmas get a home draw against the League leaders.

Drawing strength from Etebo who moved to La Liga from the relatively lower-ranked Portuguese league, NFF President, Melvin Amaju Pinnick predicted that the presence of a Nigerian midfield to be manned by Etebo and skipper Mikel Obi would cause upsets for the widely tipped teams in Nigeria’s group in Russia.

”It’s heart-warming to see Etebo play so well and rated so highly by commentators. I watched the game and was impressed. It shows that our decision to move him to La Liga is paying off. Honestly, with Etebo, Mikel and others, Nigeria will be a hard nut to crack”, Amaju said.

”Our plan is to get the Nigerian players to be playing regularly. That’s the reason and today Etebo is happy and we are proud of him. All our players are doing well and we are in close touch with them. I spoke with Etebo and he said his best is yet to come. He came face-to-face with Messi and frustrated him. That is a plus to us and Messi won’t be strange to him when they meet again at the World Cup”, Amaju said.


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