Super Eagles in group of death, face Algeria, Cameroun, Zambia
We Need Quality Coach, Players To Scale Through, Says Owolabi
“This pairing is very challenging, but I see it as mission possible for Nigeria.” That was the declaration by former Super Eagles winger, Felix Owolabi yesterday shortly after the draws for African countries ahead Russia 2018 World Cup were concluded in Cairo, Egypt.
The luck of draws again pitched the Super Eagles against Algeria, which is no doubt, Africa’s best football-playing nation at the moment. Also in Group B with Nigeria are perennial rival, Indomitable Lions of Cameroun and the Chipolopolo of Zambia.
Three-time African champions, Nigeria were in pot two and knew they would meet a ‘power house’ from pot one. As it panned out, Algeria, tuned out to be that super power.
Cameroun was the country drawn from pot three in Nigeria’s group while pot four supplied Zambia as the final group opponents for the Super Eagles.
Speaking with The Guardian, Owolabi described the pairings as very challenging, but added that with quality coach and players, the ticket would be won. He said that all the teams have equal opportunity of picking the ticket.
In the race to the 1982 World Cup hosted in Spain, Algeria knocked Nigeria out of the race, winning 2-0 in Lagos and 2-1 in Algiers. That was the beginning of late coach Stephen Keshi’s football career.
In the race to USA 94 World Cup, Eagles had their pound of fresh, beating the Algerians 4-1 in Lagos and drawing 1-1 in Algiers.
Nigeria also beat Algeria 3-0 to lift her first –ever Africa Cup of Nations title, on home soil in 1980, but the Fennecs avenged by beating the Eagles 1-0 to also nick their first African title, on home soil, ten years later.
The Indomitable Lions of Cameroun stopped Nigeria from reaching Italian ‘90 FIFA World Cup finals, winning 1-0 in Yaounde in a group contest even though Nigeria won the home leg 2-0 in Ibadan.
In Yaounde, only weeks after the death of Samuel Okwaraji, Nigeria needed a draw to shove aside the Lions, but lost 1-0.
In a friendly in Belgium in October last year, the Super Eagles steamrolled the Lions 3-0.
The Super Eagles defeated the Chipolopolo of Zambia in final of Tunisia ’94 African Nations Cup under the captainship of Keshi.