The Erstwhile goalkeeper of the Super Eagles as compared playing at the World Cup with going to the Holy Pilgrimage of Mecca.

Ike Shorunmu, who was behind the sticks for Nigeria at the 2002 Korea/Japan World Cup said players got an unprecedented treatment playing at the World Cup

Describing the feeling of playing at the World Cup in an interview with Punch, Shorunmu said: It’s the Mecca of football. When you appear at the World Cup, it’s like a president visiting another man’s country with the kind of treatment you are given by the hosts.

“It’s very interesting. Believe me, you can’t compare it to any other competition; it’s a special tournament. From the airport, you get a welcome party to your hotel, the security and atmosphere are amazing.”

The 35 capped international, who missed out on making the Eagles’ squad to the 1994 and 1998 World Cup described missing out at the latter as the worst memories of the World Cup.

He added that keeping Super Eagles’ first game at the 2002 World Cup, a game Nigeria lost 1-0 to Argentina was his best World Cup moment.

”I missed the 1998 World Cup and it remains my worst because there was a lot of noise that I would be there,” Shorunmu said.

“There was advertisement and even a shooting session ahead of the competition but it was like I was destined not to appear at that World Cup.”

He added, “My best moment was playing our first game against Argentina at Korea/Japan 2002. The pressure on the team was on me, that “Ike, you are the one we are hoping on.

“But I couldn’t do it alone, it’s a team work. But I achieved something at the World Cup with my performances against the Argentines.”

Published in Awa Football

Former Super Eagles forward Julius Aghahowa has branded the current set of Super Eagles’ players as the best Nigeria has ever produced.

Nigeria became the first African Nation to qualify for the Nations Cup – going through their qualifying phase without tasting any defeat – in a group that housed African Champion Cameroon, Algeria and Zambia.

And with the Eagles booking the World Cup ticket in style, Aghahowa who represented Nigeria from 2000 to 2007 in an interview with Vanguard posits that the current set of players in the national team now are the best in history.

On the Eagles’ World Cup campaign, Aghahowa said: “I think they have assembled the best set of players ever for the national team going by their qualification.

"I think they can go far. From what I have seen, we have a solid team. If you want to add one or two players to the team, no problem. On the whole, I think they can go far in Russia.”

The Super Eagles have been drawn in Group D alongside Croatia, Iceland and Argentina – and Aghahowa has said the 2013 African Champions had all it takes to go pass the group stage.

According to the 32-capped Nigerian international, Nigerian players featuring consistently for their respective club sides would put them in good shape going into the World Cup.

“I am very optimistic we can go past that group and even beyond.

“My optimism is based on the fact that these players are active for their various clubs; they play week in, week out and they are in top form.

“The ones that are strikers are scoring goals, the midfielders are consistent, while the defenders have been playing well. With their present form, they will come out of that group and even go beyond,” the former Shakhtar Donetsk striker added.

Aghahowa, who featured for Bendel Insurance of Benin, Esperance of Tunisia, Wigan Athletic, Shakhtar Donetsk amongst others represented Nigeria at the 2002 World Cup that was co-hosted by Korea and Japan.

Published in Awa Football


(Del Potro believes Messi must win the Russia 2018 World Cup if he wants more respect from Argentines. Credit: Skysports)

Tennis star Juan Martin Del Potro believes Lionel Messi needs to win the World Cup if he wants to “sleep easy.”

The Argentine international and No.9 ranked tennis star hopes his fellow countryman would be lucky enough to win the Russia 2018 World Cup.

Messi, who has won the Ballon d’or five times amongst other individual awards and club trophies has failed to lift a trophy with Argentina since he made his debut in 2005.

The Barcelona star lost three international finals in three years with Argentina – the last which made him to retire from international football for less than three-month.

But According to Del Potro, Messi has had an unmatchable career but still needs to win a World Cup.

“Messi has had a career that cannot be matched,” Del Potro told Marca.

“He has been the best in the World for some time, but I believe he needs this trophy {the World Cup} to be able to sleep easy, as happened with me with the Davis Cup, which we’d won before.

“I hope that he can do it in Russia this year. I know what he has suffered and that he deserves it.”

Argentina will start their World Cup campaign against Iceland before locking horns with Croatia and Nigeria respectively

Published in International Watch

The former Kano Pillars winger has revealed that the Eagles harbour no fear over their World Cup group stage meeting with Argentina.

Nigeria were drawn in Group D alongside Croatia, Iceland and Argentina and ahead of the meeting with the latter billed for June 26 at the Saint Petersburg Stadium, Ahmed Musa in an exclusive interview with FIFA.com said the Eagles are not petrified by the quality of the Albiceleste of Argentina and that of other countries that will be at the World Cup.

Musa scored a brace when the two sides (Nigeria and Argentina) in Brazil but a Lionel Messi’s brace and a goal from Marcus Rojo ensured the Albiceleste maintained their winning records over Nigeria – making it four wins in four meetings at the Mundial.