Eagles need early camping, ex-stars tell NFF

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Posted on Nov 18 2017 - 11:52pm by admin

‘Tana Aiyejina

Former Super Eagles stars have urged the Nigeria Football Federation to ensure early preparations for the national team ahead of next year’s World Cup in Russia.

The Eagles qualified for their sixth World Cup without losing a game in the African qualifiers, then went on to record a shock 4-2 win over star-studded Argentina in Krasnodar, Russia, in their first friendly game preparatory to the World Cup, on Tuesday.

Former Nigeria stars Taribo West, Victor Ezeji and Friday Ekpo expressed hope in the Eagles’ ability to perform well if they went into camp early enough.

Atlanta ’96 gold medallist Taribo believes coach Gernot Rohr has already built a unit of players who only needed early camping to blend well for the World Cup.

The former Inter Milan centre-back said despite the presence of relatively new faces in the squad, the victory over Argentina was a pointer that the team could go places if given the right preparation for the World Cup.

“What the team need to do is to go into camp early. Rohr has brought his experience, coaching in Europe and Africa, to bear on the Eagles; he’s fixed the missing link but they need to sustain the tempo after beating Argentina by giving the team the best preparation,” West, who represented Nigeria at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups, said.

“Playing a big team like Argentina was good but they can also play smaller teams; we played local teams while preparing for Atlanta ’96. Once the season is over, they should begin preparations and if possible, camp in a country close to Russia, because of the weather, before the start of the competition.”

Ezeji also called on the federation to prepare the Eagles early for the Mundial. The ex-Sharks captain said he was impressed with how the NFF managed the team recently.

He said, “I’m happy the federation started on a good note this time around, unlike in the past when there were always issues of money between players and officials.

“But they have to open camp early enough, considering that we are building a very young team that haven’t bonded yet. Yes, we beat Argentina, but we can only get better with the right preparations.”

On his part, 1992 Africa Cup of Nations bronze medallist Ekpo said, “We have a bit of time; we need to take advantage of the FIFA match days. Between next April and May, we should be able to know which players would represent our team at the World Cup.

“I’m happy that the federation started preparations immediately they beat Zambia to qualify for the World Cup but for us to build a team of quality players, preparations must start on time.”

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