With qualification secured for Nigeria’s sixth participation in the World Cup, some former international players have urged the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the team handlers to hit the ground running by commencing preparation for the global event holding next year in Russia.
Some of the former Nigerian internationals who spoke with the Sports Village Square include Etim Esin, Benedict Akwegbu, Ifeanyi Udeze and Ike Shorunmu. They want the preparation to commence early so that participation will be better than the previous marks made by the Super Eagles.
Nigeria’s best performance in the World Cup till date is the Round of 16 mark attained at the USA ’94 and Brazil 2014. That was a round short of the quarter finals mark attained by Cameroon at Italia ’90, Senegal at the Korea/Japan in 2002 and Ghana at South Africa 2010.
In fact Cameroon and Ghana were at the brink of making it to the semi finals in 1990 and 2010 respectively before they failed the penalty kick tests.
Etim Esin told Sports Village Square that the NFF should plan for high profile friendly matches to put the Super Eagles in shape for the great challenges ahead.
Ifeanyi Udeze who was a member the 2002 class of the Super Eagles wants the high spirit in the team to be sustained. “I love the passion being showed by the players and I urge them to keep it up and the handlers should organize friendly matches for the squad”.
Former national team goalkeeper and later goalkeeper trainer, Ike Shorunmu and Benedict Akwegbu spoke in similar vein.