Eagles turn attention to World Cup qualifier against Zambia
Fresh from their 1-0 defeat of Tanzania in an African Nations Cup qualifier, players of the Super Eagles have assured Nigerians that they are committed to winning a Russia 2018 World Cup ticket.
Nigeria begins its quest to feature in a third consecutive FIFA World Cup next month with a qualifier away to Zambia.The Super Eagles on Saturday laboured to a 1-0 defeat of Tanzania in an inconsequential Gabon 2017 qualifier as both teams had already lost the ticket to Egypt. And to avoid another heartache, the Super Eagles said after the game played in Uyo that they have shifted their attention to the game against the Chipolopolo on October 3, which result would set the pace for the race to Russia 2018.
Although Nigeria dominated play against Tanzania on Saturday, they wasted so many scoring chances that when Kelechi Iheanacho came up with his thunderous strike in the 75th minute, Super Eagles fans heaved a sigh of relief.
Such wastefulness if repeated against Zambia will not help the Super Eagles’ quest for the Russia 2018 ticket from a group also containing Algeria and Cameroun. And Super Eagles stars, John Obi MIkel, Carl Ikeme and Elderson Echiejile agree.
Admitting that the Eagles need to find their scoring boots quickly, Skipper Mikel advised all Nigerian football stakeholders ‘to stick together’ as the games against Algeria, Cameroun and Zambia get nearer.
He said, “We played really well though we created lots of chances. We couldn’t score more than one for a couple of reasons. Now we need to stick together and we want the same kind of support we got here and do well for the World Cup qualifiers which is very important now.”
To Goalkeeper Carl Ikeme, who was relatively on a holiday on Saturday, beating Zambia in Ndola requires that every element needed for the result have to be right.Writing in his twitter account, Ikeme said: “Good result today, thanks to the fans, who came to the game. Your support was amazing. Now we look forward to our World Cup qualifier next month.”Echiejile allayed fans’ fears over the team’s inability to score goals, saying that the Eagles will get it right and on time before the Zambia clash.
He revealed that Super Eagles’ new coach, Gernot Rohr, has brought a new mentality to the team, adding that the players and officials are collectively determined to reach Russia.“He’s (Rohr) kept everything so simple with all of us. Now we can look forward with big hope that we can achieve the unthinkable in our World Cup group,” he said.