Eagles turn attention to World Cup qualifier against Zambia

Super Eagles’ Victor Moses (left) tries to outwit a Tanzanian star during their Gabon 2017 AFCON qualifier in Uyo…on Saturday.

Super Eagles’ Victor Moses (left) tries to outwit a Tanzanian star during their Gabon 2017 AFCON qualifier in Uyo…on Saturday.

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.

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2 Comments
  • Leshi Abduljeleel

    Firstly, I want to congratulate the entire team from Technical adviser to the team of coaches and the players generally for the face saving result in last Saturday’s game. All the same, I saw a lot of lapses in that game but as a follower of the game, the result could have been different if the team had approached the game differently. Generally, most Nigerian teams play similar pattern either club or national team in the sense that we approached games like some area is not my business on the field. If the team is attacking, whether you are an attacker or defender, all should be ready to shield ball to maintain the attack. This is because there will always be rebound of balls that should be anticipated, because the opponent will always be panic at this moment. But some of our strikers always walk away once they attempt and fail to either a dispossession or rebound. I expect them to take position to make opponent find it difficult to receive a pass or go and challenge whoever having the ball with the mind of forcing him to make mistakes. This is always not the case. Our strikers will always wait for defenders to collect ball again and give to them which they may loose again. This is not the spirit as football is a team game. That is why defenders sometimes do find themself in scoring position and getting goals for the team. If our team could play a pattern of total combat, we would be getting desire results. This is what I have seen as the cutting edge for the team. We have the talents.

  • Theophilus

    Though one may not hold this up as a total excuse, we must not discountenance the state of the pitch in Uyo. Though it looked lush green, it was bumpy and the grass too high for a good passing game that most of the professionals that played on Saturday are used to. One could see how deep the boots of the players sunk into the grasses. This in my opinion accounted for the usually wayward shots that prevailed due to the unusual bounces of the ball off the pitch.

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