World Cup: Football enthusiasts hail Eagles’ unbeaten run
Some football enthusiasts yesterday hailed the Super Eagles after the team played out 1-1 draw against the Fennecs of Algeria to finish their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign unbeaten.
John Ogu hammered home a left footed strike in the 63rd minute, taking advantage of a poor defensive clearance, to give Nigeria the lead after 63 minutes.
But Algeria were handed a soft penalty kick which Yacine Brahimi converted with two minutes to go.
The result meant that Nigeria remained unbeaten in 36 FIFA World Cup games on the bounce since a 0-1 loss to Angola in June, 2004.
A cross section of football enthusiasts who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) noted that though the Super Eagles had already secured the Russia 2018 World Cup ticket, finishing their campaign unbeaten was very impressive.
Tunde Popoola, the SecretaryGeneral of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) said that he was always excited to see the Super Eagles playing so well, adding that finishing their campaign unbeaten was a thing of joy and pride.
“I love the Super Eagles from the very depth of my heart, especially when they give their all on the pitch like they did against the Algerians.
“Algeria have always been our greatest rivals and though we had qualified for the World Cup, we needed to ensure we did not lose to them, in order to prove a point that we are indeed the ‘Giants of Africa’ again,” he said.
Musa Talle, the Chairman, FCT Football Association said, “I am happy for this team. It was nice to see how good the guys were without the presence of players like Mikel Obi, Victor Moses and Odion Ighalo.
“It shows we have a pool of quality players for both the first team and reserve as well as back-ups.
“The result of today’s match is likely to impact positively on our ranking in Africa and consequently, influence what group we may likely be in at the World Cup.
“However, I consider it more important, to view this match as preparatory for the main event, the World Cup. Hence, it’s a good move that some new and unused legs were selected for the match.
“Though the pitch was awful, nevertheless, the Super Eagles were impressive.
“With a little more work, we should be able to compete favourably with the best team in the world come Russia 2018,” he said.
Emmanuel Babayaro, an ex-international observed that even though the team gave a good account of themselves, there was a lot of work to be done before the World Cup.
“It was a decent run out for the Eagles in preparation for the World Cup. I think John Ogu was brilliant and a perfect substitute for Mikel Obi. Abdullahi Shehu also did a good job and was very solid at right back.
“Our goal keeping department however needs to be addressed. Yes, Ezenwa made some brilliant saves but he had a rough night, especially when it came to dealing with the aerial balls,” he said.
Nduka Ugbade, also an ex-international and former Flying Eagles Assistant Coach said he was impressed with the performances and flashes of brilliance exhibited by some of the newly introduced players.
“I noticed one big asset in Ola Aina today. He can use his right foot almost as equally as his natural left foot.
“He impressed me when he dribbled left and used his right foot to make a no-look back-heel pass while under pressure. Only a two legged footer can make such move.
“His delap-esque long throws is also a good asset to the team.
“Etebo impressed, while Balogun, Ekong, Ndidi and Ogu were solid. Onyekuru is also a promising lad. This team is indeed a work in progress,” he said.