Sports

May 23, 2024

Lookman’s Europa League glory good for Europe-based footballers — Finidi

Lookman’s Europa League glory good for Europe-based footballers — Finidi

The newly appointed Super Eagles coach, Finidi George, on Thursday, described the 2023–2024 European Football season’s wind-down as the best time for Nigerians playing in the different leagues on the continent.

George made the assertion during a press conference where he lauded the success story of Nigeria’s Ademola Lookman with Atlanta FC.

Lookman won the 2023–2024 Europa League on Wednesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the media parley was organized by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Thursday at the Eko Hotels and Suite, Victoria Island.

The Super Eagles coach said he was delighted at Lookman’s heroics for his Italian club, Atlanta FC, who defeated Bayern Leverkusen in the Europa League final.

The Nigerian scored a hat trick during the 3-0 defeat of their opponents.

”For me as a Nigerian, I am happy that our players are putting up such good displays and doing well in Europe. This is the best times for Nigerians playing in Europe.

”Ademola is a player we need and we love him and I am glad that he had a spectacular performance yesterday.

”I sent him a message to congratulate him, and not him alone, but Victor Boniface and Nathan Tella.

”It is a good thing for Nigeria because, for a very long time, we have not had our players doing so well in Europe. As a coach now, it is wonderful for me.

”We need all these players to come back and perform for us. I am delighted for Lookman’s success in scoring a hat-trick, and I am looking forward to having him in the camp,” George said.

On the forthcoming crunch World Cup qualifier’s double header against South Africa and Benin Republic, George assured that Nigeria would pick the maximum points.

”South Africa World Cup qualifiers will be a difficult game. We all know what happened during the last AFCON. For us, we know the capacity of the South Africans.

”Majority of South African players are playing in the country, but if our players give 100 percent of what they have given their respective clubs, we don’t have a problem.

”I think the present form of the Super Eagles is good enough to beat the South African team; all we need to pray for is luck and to take our chances,” he said.

The coach also noted that he expected two or three additions to the team.

He also said that the bulk of the players he would use to prosecute the World Cup qualifiers would be the players from the last AFCON.

”Sometimes, club performances and national team participation are not the same. We are going to have new faces in the Eagles one or two.

”In my days as a player, we have players that are doing well at their club level but failed to perform on the national team or struggled.

”We now have lots of players doing well in Europe that we will want to give opportunity to, and we will give them the opportunity during the FIFA windows for friendly matches.

”The best time to access them is during the friendly match to blend the new invitees and the older ones together.

”However, the bulk of the players will be the ones that played in the last AFCON. So now, Nigerians now know my mind,” he said.

George also revealed that the Super Eagles list for the World Cup qualifiers against Bafana Bafana of South Africa and the Squirrels of Benin Republic would be out before Saturday. (NAN)