Predictions out on Super Eagles’ chances at FIFA 2018

In the world of Football, FIFA (Federation of International Football Association) World Cup competition is the most prominent Football competition because it gives room for different countries and continents to come together to participate in this outstanding quadrennial International Football tournament contested by the men’s National teams of members of FIFA.

The next of this competition is scheduled to hold in Russia from 14th June 2018 to 15th July 2018. With fixtures drawn, Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup will be the 21st Edition of the FIFA World Cup competition.

32 countries have been arranged into 4 different groups in which the Super Eagles of Nigeria fall Into Group D along with the other 3 countries. These are the “Vetreni” otherwise known as the Blazer of Croatia, “La Albicelestes” the White and Blue Sky of Argentina and the “Strakarnir Okkar” or Our Boys of Iceland.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria will play match 8 of the competition as their first match against the Blazer of Croatia on Saturday 16th June, 2018 at Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad Russia. Super Eagles will take on Our Boys of Iceland at Volgograd Arena, Volgograd Russia on the 22nd of June 2018 as their second match of the competition which will be the 24th match of the competition. Super Eagles’ 3rd match will be the 39th of the competition and this will be against the White and Blue Sky of Argentina at Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg Russia on the 26 of June 2018.

Public Times went out to explore peoples opinion on the chances of Super Eagles in the deadly group and in the competition generally.

In his opinion, Adeyemi Tunde, the Assistant Coach of Born Legend Football Club of Ibadan, Nigeria strongly believes that the Super Eagles of Nigeria will get through from that deadly group D zone. When he critically looked at the other 3 teams, he said people focus on the Argentina team as a threat to the Super Eagles but he believes Croatia boys are not easy too. He added that the present Super Eagles can tackle any national team because she has some world class players that are also fearsome to her opponents. He pointed out that Nigeria has players like Victor Moses who is playing for Chelsea Football Club of England, Alex Iwobi who plays for Arsenal Football Club of England and John Mikel Obi of Tianjin Teda Chinese Football club amongst others. And that they are all doing well in their various clubs.

He continued that he perceives seriousness in the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) that have been giving necessary supports for the players and their management. He concluded that with these young boys in Super Eagles, Nigeria’s national team should come out first from this stage, if not, it will surely come out second. He said, that he is seeing Super Eagles that will go far in the 2018 FIFA World Cup competition.

In his own view, Coach Kareem Ademuyiwa of Adewale Football Club of Ibadan, Nigeria described Group D as a tough group but it will be the most surprising group because Super Eagles will qualify to the next round of the competition.

He hinted that with good preparation and play of first class friendly matches he believed that this time around young boys that are willing to play hard for their fathers’ land are now in the team. He added that the caliber of coach that we have in the person of Genort Rohr, is a coach that can read matches.

Coach Adewale also analyzed the qualifiers and applauded Eagles coach for introducing different pattern to tackle different teams. During the first half of the last friendly match against Argentina he introduced 3-5-2 when he discovered that some of the boys were not used to the pattern which cost Nigeria 2-1 down, Adewale observed. He introduced another pattern immediately in the second half and the boys keyed into it and eventually triumph over Almighty Argentina by 4 goals to 2.

In answer to a question, he said the national team does not need Vincent Enyeama in the team. He added that Enyeama is experienced but his time has gone. He also analyzed that at present, John Mikel Obi is the Captain of the team and he is coordinating it well but if Enyeama should come back then what will happen to Mikel Obi, question is that is he going to take over the Captainship from Mikel Obi. If he is not taking over, a tussle will set in and this can affect the performance of the team. He suggested that if at all Enyeama should be back in the team, he should be part of the backup trainer for the goalkeepers. He recollect that in the Korean – Japan 2002 FIFA World Cup, Mutiu Adepoju was taken to the world cup but not as a team player but as a backup trainer for the players.

Contrary to Coaches Kazeem and Assistant Coach Adeyemi, Mr Dare Opayemi a teacher at Best Line Nursery and Primary School, Akinlapa area, Apata, Ibadan who is a Football lover also a Chelsea fan predicted with tenacity that Nigerian Super Eagles cannot qualify from Group D. When people talk of the Eagles’ match with Argentina team, he believed that it will be a great mistake to compare friendly match with the real competition as most Football lovers do. But people forget that the Almighty Messi was not in action in that match he pointed out. He doesn’t see any player in the Nigerian team that can hold Messi and his team mate.

Opayemi talked of players like Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero, Paulo Dybala, Angel Di Maria amongst others and drew Nigerians’ attention to look at Croatia team as well and pointed out that this team also possess world class players like Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Perisic. He said that these players are doing well in their various clubs and are all playing in the best clubs in the world. So, he could not see Nigeria Super Eagles beating these two teams.

He however agreed that the Eagles can manage to get a draw or beat Iceland, still, it is going to be a tough match, he predicted. He explained that going by Iceland performance in Europe Cup at France 2017 it will be discovered that they are better side too. He advised Nigerians to be patient till 2022 World Cup because 2018 fixture could not favour Super Eagles of Nigeria., he asserted.

By Ademola Oladele

PublicTimes ISSN 2250-9259

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