Anunobi rues Eagles’ absence, warns against losing Russia 2018 ticket

Super Eagles’ Captain, John Obi Mikel (left), celebrating with his teammates after leading Nigeria to a 3-1 defeat of Algeria in a Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier played in Uyo. PHOTO: AFP.

Super Eagles’ Captain, John Obi Mikel (left), celebrating with his teammates after leading Nigeria to a 3-1 defeat of Algeria in a Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier played in Uyo. PHOTO: AFP.

Former Super Eagles winger, Mark Anunobi, has expressed regret over the absence of the Nigerian national team at the on-going 2017 Africa Cup of Nations holding in Gabon.

Anunobi, a member of the Flying Eagles squad that won the bronze medal at the Moscow 1985 Junior World Cup, told The Guardian yesterday he was pained by the absence of the Super Eagles, saying many of the country’s talented youthful players, who would have maximized the opportunity to showcase their skills, were denied the chance.

“Every Nigerian will not be happy that our Super Eagles are missing at the ongoing Africa Nations Cup. I am not happy. We are supposed to be there and let the world watch us and see how we play.

“We are talented, entertaining, the mentality to win is there because we have talented footballers,” he said.

According to Anunobi, players like Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Leon Balogun and Troost-Ekong, among others, would have shown at the competition. So I really miss our Super Eagles and because of that many Nigerians are not interested in following the ongoing competition,” he said.

He warned that Nigeria could miss the Russia 2018 World Cup if nothing has been done to cure the sickness that denied the Super Eagles a spot at the 2017 Africa Nations Cup.

“We should start planning early and get focused. We should find what made us to fail and correct it. It is not good for a country like Nigeria to be missing out in such big competitions.

“We must support the players, pay their allowances as at when due and remove whatever that would act as impediment to them. With the technical crew doing their job, we will surely qualify,” he added.

He admonished sports administrators to evolve better working strategies rather than the fire brigade approach that has become synonymous with Nigeria’s preparation for national and international competitions.

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