The Arsenal youngster believes the Super Eagles of Nigeria have enough quality in store to make a statement at the World Cup.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria have been drawn alongside Argentina, Croatia and Iceland of the World Cup billed to start next month.

Nwakali, who was on target for the Super Eagles B team in a friendly match with Europa League champions Atletico Madrid said if the Eagles’ players needed only to put their hearts together to make a statement at the World Cup.

Speaking after the game about Eagles’ chances in Russia, Nwakali said, “We have to go Russia and make a statement. Is a game and I believe as a team we can make it.

“We have quality players to defend Nigeria and with their minds put to it, they would do it.”

When posed to the former Golden Eaglets captain whether he had done enough to deserve a place in the Eagles’ preliminary squad to the World Cup, he said, “Well, I’m not the one to decide, the coach is the one to decide.”

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The Super Eagles B team were defeated 3-2 by Atltetico Madrid on Tuesday, in a match played at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium.

Nwakali’s wonderful strike put the Eagles in front, but Angel Correa restored parity for the Spanish giant under five minutes.

Fernando Torres, who donned the Los Rojiblancos’ jersey for the last time came up the bench in the second half to put Atletico in front, but a Solo effort from Usman Mohammed that saw the whole stadium went agog for minutes, and looked like will be taking the game to a penalty shootout was dealt a blow by an 85th minute winner from Borja Garces.

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The Super Eagles were the first African side to qualify for the World Cup – going through the qualifying series unbeaten, but Garba Lawal claims the players don’t play like they want to leave a legacy behind.

 

The 44-year-old was part of the team that represented Nigeria at the 1998 edition of the World Cup in France. He scored one and provided another one in the historic 3-2 win comeback against Spain.

 

The Former Nigerian international talking to completesports about the Eagles’ chances going into the World Cup said the current Eagles’ team are short of quality compared to the 1998 set that quality in abundance.

 

“The 1994 and 1998 squads never depended on any player to get going when it got tough, Garba said.”

 

“But now when a player is out of the team due to one reason or the other, there’s problem, Nigeria start panicking. Then we had two quality players in every position and you can call on any player to fill in the void, but now, we will start thinking. Same cannot be said of this current squad.

 

“It baffles me most times - I wonder if the current crop of players ask themselves why many people still rate the 1994, 1996 and 1998 squad as the best Super Eagles team ever?

 

“They don’t show in their game that they want to leave a legacy behind with the way they play. There’s a problem already and they are comfortable dropping it at the feet of the coach.”

 

The Super Eagles will kick-start their World Cup campaign in Russia on June 16 against Croatia, before facing Iceland and Argentina on June 22 and 26 respectively.

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Garba Lawal warned that Nigeria would find the group very difficult.

 

The 57 capped international believes Nigeria being clinical and winning the opening game against Croatia is expedient if the team is to stand a chance of making it pass the group stage in Russia.

 

It’s not going to be easy for the Super Eagles, but we must be clinical.

 

“We must win games to go far in the tournament which is important. Our opening game against Croatia is a must win if we are to stand a chance of making it to the next round, Garba Lawal added.

 

 

 

 

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The former Nigerian international believes Nigeria will need the service of Brown Ideye at the World Cup.

Yakubu Aiyegbeni has said that Malaga of Spain forward Brown Ideye will be needed to do dirty works for the Eagles in Russia.

According to the former Everton striker, ‘hardworking Brown Ideye should be the one to pair Odion Ighalo in Russia.

“I strongly believe (Odion)Ighalo is a good striker but he needs support from top strikers like Brown Ideye,” Aiyegbeni told Completesports.

“The strength of any good side is its ability to convert scoring chances, but we would need a good and hardworking supporting striker like Ideye to play behind Ighalo.

“Ideye is strong and can do the dirty work well. This will pave way for Ighalo to bang in the goals.”

The third highest scoring Nigerian international also advised Nigerians not to put pressure on Gernot Rohr and his team going into the World Cup.

He added, “I don’t think Nigerians need to pile pressure on this team because the World Cup is no child’s play.

“They should just support the team and let the players express themselves.

“They do not need the pressure now, let’s not set any target for the team if really we want to get the best from them.”

Nigeria has been drawn in the Group D of the 2018 World Cup alongside Croatia, Iceland and Argentina.

 

 

 

 

 

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George Weah, the only African player to have won the FIFA World best though never played at the FIFA World Cup, had given Nigeria a template on how they could have a successful World Cup campaign later this year in Russia.

The Liberian President who paid the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari earlier this week at the Presidential Villa, Abuja as parts of his recommendations for the Super Eagles to have a successful World Cup campaign warned the Nigerian ministers not to swallow funds meant for World Cup preparation.

The 1995 World Player of the Year also charged the Super Eagles to be the first African country to lift the World Cup – saying “they {Nigeria} are going to represent Africa.

“I think Nigerian team is a model, we all followed them,” Weah said. “I have played with great Nigerian players, I played against them. Now you have a new generation, the fact that they qualified is a good thing for Nigeria.

“But I hope that they will prepare very early because they are going to represent Africa and we will be there to watch them, for them to bring the trophy for the first time if it is possible."

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Weah added, “But I think the seriousness to go to World Cup is not to pay players to go, I want every African government to know, if you win World Cup is a pride to Africa, it is not just to Nigeria, so we must do everything to ensure that the players are not stressed, make sure they concentrate, make sure their incentives are given to them to motivate them.

“Some of the things you see at the World Cup, you will see an entire team go to represent a whole country and you will hear that one minister took the money, they did not pay these players and the players are causing problem. When players are going to camp, it is to relax and focus.

“And for them to be in camp they must have everything there for them not to worry.

“Remember I played in European setting, when we go camp we have nothing to do. The only thing we have to do is to take a shower and prepare for the game, everything is laid down here and so you have no excuse. “So let the players not have excuse, support them and let them go and bring back that cup.”

All these advices from the legendary George Weah - we at spotkick hope the relevant authorities would take note. But it is suffice to state that animals are the only ones that swallow money in Nigeria and not human beings.

And if human beings do swallow money, we’ve not heard any so far in 2018.

Nigeria have been drawn in Group D alongside Croatia, Iceland and Argentina – and they will kick-start their World Cup campaign against Croatia on June 16 at the Kaliningrad Stadium before facing Iceland and Argentina on June 22 and 26 respectively.

 

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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.

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Edson Arantes do Narscimento, popularly known as Pele has said that Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar were the only superstars of football but the later was more technically gifted than the other two.

The 77-year-old, three-time World Cup winner discussing the chances of his country ahead of the World Cup in an interview with FIFA said Neymar, who he described as the ‘most technically gifted footballer’, would be Brazil key at the World Cup.

While Banking on Neymar’s talents, the football icon warned that Brazil must be well organised to make a statement at the World Cup.

“Neymar has changed the way he plays with the national team,” Pele said. “He has had to. At his club side, he was playing as a left-sided attacker, whereas for Brazil, he plays more centrally, as a more traditional No10.

“That’s hard, but he’s managed to adapt his game. If you look around the world, the ones who stand out are Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar. There are no other superstars.

"The important thing is for the national team to be well organised as a group because they no longer have three or four top players for each position. The same is true of Germany, whose emphasis is more on the collective. Before, it was individuals who mattered most, but it’s changed a lot. It’s all very similar these days.

"He’s ready, yes. He might find that the tactical switch from his club to the national team isn’t straightforward, but Neymar is Brazil’s key player. He has to prepare himself for that. And I would go further: for me, technically, he is already the best player in the world. I’m absolutely sure of that."

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The football legend had no doubt over the talents of the Brazilian players, but said the Brazilians playing in different leagues would always be a problem for the coaching crew.

“Brazil always have a team capable of winning the World Cup. However, we’ve come unstuck at recent tournaments because of our preparation time. The majority of Brazil’s players are based abroad. It was very different back in our day.

“We had a lot more time. It makes life very hard for the coaching staff, as it’s difficult to build a team. Things have changed, it’s not as easy as saying ‘this will be our team’. But individually speaking, I have no doubt that the best players in the world are Brazilian,” Pele added.

 

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Vincent Enyeama has been mooted for a return to the Super Eagles for the World Cup, but Gernot Rohr has said the veteran shot-stopper would not make the squad to Russia due to his lack of game time

Enyeama retired abruptly from the national team in 2015 but discourse on him returning to the team has been on the table for months, but Rohr has adduced that the Lille goalkeeper lack of game time at his club meant he was out of the team for Russia.

The 101 capped Nigerian international last featured for the first team of Lille in the game against Rennes last April.

And speaking to reporters at Aiteo/Nigeria Football Federation Awards, Rohr as quoted by Vanguard said Enyeama would not be part of his team for the World Cup.

“He {Enyeama} is not playing anywhere, so we cannot take players who are not playing,” Rohr said.

“We are working hard to have the best of our legs taken to Russia and we don’t have the best luxury of naming a player that has not been playing in recent time.

“Each time we have a problem, there is always a good answer and I hope it will be the same for the World Cup.

“We currently have so many players in camp and we want to continue monitoring them. The most important thing is for them to be in best shape for the Mundial.”

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With Rohr ruling Enyeama out of the World Cup, The Franco-German would be left to pick three amongst Francis Uzuoho, Daniel Akpeyi, Dele Ajiboye, Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Dele Ajiboye that would represent the country at the World Cup.

All the available options for Rohr are deemed inexperienced at the highest level.

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Former Nigerian international Daniel Amokachi has predicted that African countries would fare well at this year World Cup and added that the Super Eagles would emerge as the winner of the Mundial.

Getting to the quarter finals was the highest feat African countries as attained at the World Cup – feats achieved by Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010 but Amokachi, who represented Nigeria at the 1994 and 1998 World Cup predicted that the feat would be usurped in Russia

According to him, three African countries would reach the quarters of the World Cup, two in the semis and Nigeria would emerge winner of the Mundial.

The former Everton striker made the statement at the partnership signing between the Nigeria Football Federation ( NFF ) and Nigerian Breweries and he was quoted by vanguard to have said: “ I was asked in the studio where I work about the chances of African representatives at the World Cup this year, I was emphatic.

“I said four teams from Africa would be in the second round, three teams from Africa would be in the quarter final, two in the semi-final and one will be in the final.

“And Nigeria will win the World Cup. That is what I believe. You may have your own belief.”

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Nigeria will kick-start their World Cup campaign against Croatia on June 16 at the Kaliningrad Stadium before facing Iceland and Argentina on June 22 and 26 respectively.

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The Super Eagles of Nigeria has given “football fans unforgettable memories” at the World Cup, says Federation of International Football Association ( FIFA ).

The three-time African Champions will be making their sixth appearance at the World Cup later this year in Russia and FIFA has paid tribute to Nigeria and some of her ex players who had lit up the World Cup in the past.

In a text to back some of the video clips of the Super Eagles at the World Cup shared on the FIFA website, the World governing body of football wrote: “The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ will mark Nigeria’s sixth appearance at the global finals. The African side made their debut at USA 1994, winning over supporters across the world with their exciting brand of football as they bowed out at the Round of 16 against eventual finalists Italy.

“…From Daniel Amokachi to Emmanuel Amunike, Sunday Oliseh to Jay-Jay Okocha, the high-flying Super Eagles have given football fans some unforgettable memories. We pay tribute to some of the Nigeria icons who have made their mark on the World Cup.”

The Super Eagles were the first side to qualify from the African continent and have been drawn in Group D against Croatia, Iceland and Argentina.

Meanwhile, Super Eagles forward Ahmed Musa has revealed that the team was prepared to make it pass the group stage as they’ve set a quarter final or semi-final agenda.

The Technical Adviser of the side, Gernot Rohr has also backed Musa stance – saying quarter final was the minimum the Super Eagles wanted to reach at the World Cup.

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Gernot Rohr has revealed that the quartet of Vincent Enyeama, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Dele Ajiboye and Daniel Akpeyi were in contention to make the team to the World Cup.

The Technical Adviser of the Super Eagles in recent times had to shuffle his pack in the goalkeeping department after Carl Ikeme, the then first choice of the team was diagnosed with acute leukemia.

Vincent Enyeama, who retired abruptly from the national team in 2015 has been mooted for a possible return to the team while the duo of Ezenwa and Ajiboye starred for the CHAN Eagles that lost to Morocco in the Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) final.

Akpeyi, on the other hand, has been asked to be dropped by some sections of Nigerian fans aftermath his appalling display in the Eagles 4-2 defeat of Argentina in a friendly match last November but Rohr disclosed that the Chippa United goalkeeper alongside Enyeama, Ezenwa and Ajiboye stood a chance of representing Nigeria at the World Cup.

The Franco-German, who according to completesports disclosed that the Eagles would camp in Austria said he wanted three players each for the outfield positions, while four or five goalkeepers would do battle for the available three slots.

“The idea is to have three players for every position in camp from where I would probably pick the best two each and three of the five goalkeepers for the World Cup in Russia,” Rohr told completesports.

“Akpeyi and Enyeama are still in contention for World Cup places if they are in good health, fitness and good form. But Ezenwa and Dele {Ajiboye} have been good, and if they continue to improve, we will love that because World Cup is a big stage.

Spotkick reported that Eagles’ forward Ahmed Musa said the Super Eagles had set the bar of reaching either the quarter final or semis of the Russia 2018 World Cup, Rohr also re-echoed similar stance – saying that the Eagles had set a target of reaching at least the quarter final.

He submitted that with the kind of programs that had been mapped for the Super Eagles, the team would fare well in Russia.

“We have set a target to reach the quarter final of the World Cup …. We have a good program going to Russia with series of friendly games that will put us in shape for the World Cup,” Rohr added.

 

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