Prepare well, forget permutations, Onigbinde advises Eagles

Nigeria’s (top L-R) Leon Balogun, William Ekong, Anthony Nwakaeme, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Onyinye Ndidi, John Ogu, (bottom L-R) Abdullahi Shehu, Alexander Iwobi, Ola Aina, Oghenekaro Etebo, and Kelechi Iheanacho pose prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Group B qualifying football match between Algeria and Nigeria at the Chahid Hamlaou Stadium in Constantine on November 10, 2017. RYAD KRAMDI / AFP

FORMER Coach of the Super Eagles, Chief Adegboyega Onigbinde, has said that the Super Eagles would only soar at the Russia 2018 World Cup based on the level of preparations it made.

He therefore, urged the team and its handlers to cast aside permutations and calculations about their opponents and get to work fast.

The Eagles were on Friday drawn in Group D with old rivals, Argentina, Croatia and Iceland during the draw held at the Kremlin Palace, Moscow on Friday,

Onigbinde, who was the first indigenous coach to take Nigeria to the World Cup in Korea/Japan, said the nation should concentrate on preparing well rather than relying on permutation for the team’s matches in the group.

“What is going to happen during the World Cup will now depend on our opponents and how prepared we are. That is why we should forget about calculation on our opponents’ strength. Statistics do not play football and will never win matches.

“In 2002, France came to World Cup as the defending champion and in their first match at Korea/Japan they were beaten by Senegal. To me what matters now is how to ensure that the team prepares adequately and gets ready for the tournament. That you beat me yesterday does not mean that you will beat me today. I wish the team the best of luck,” he said.

Also speaking on the draw, the former Technical Director of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Mr. Kashimawo Laloko, declared that the goalkeeping area of the team needs to be addressed if the team must make any meaningful impact.

“I am not worried about our qualification from that group because I believe we will qualify. But I am scared a bit about our defence but majorly the goalkeeping area. I think Vincent Enyeama should be brought back to assist us. I believe with him, we should be able to win and move to the next stage of the tournament.

“Matches in that group are going to be very tough ones. As for Argentina, their friendly game against us was a fluke. I believe this time around, they are going to come out smoking at the World Cup.

“The exit of Enyeama from the Eagles was the coach’s fault. He caused the confusion and I will want us to appeal for his return in order to help the team.

“I believe this is one thing we can do for these young boys who already are a team. There is no time for trials now, all that we need to do is to solidify the team and see that we equally have a good bench that is all. So, I wish Nigeria the best of luck,” he said.

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