EditorialsNigeria Football

These 23 friends could stop Super Eagles from going to Russia 2018

When the draw for 2018 World Cup qualifiers was made, and Nigeria pitched in the same group as Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia, the Northern Africans were picked as Super Eagles main rivals.

After playing two rounds at the qualifiers Nigeria seems to have the upper hand in the race for Russia 2018 world cup ticket in the group of death but there are still four more games to be played.

If you have been following the AFCON 2017 and the recent happenings in the Algerian Football Federation, you will agree that the Indomitable Lions who are Nigeria’s next opponent in the World Cup qualifiers offer more threat than the Algerians.

The Indomitable Lions have shown repeatedly that they are the big deal by rising to occasion almost when you have written them off.

They may not have the likes of Samuel Eto’o, Patrick Mboma, Lauren Etamé-Mayer, Geremi Njitap, Rigobert Song – but they have a young, and talented group of boys who are ready to run their socks out in their fitted jersey to defend their country. Their ability to get results against any side cannot go unnoticed.

They have surprisingly reached the final at the ongoing AFCON 2017 and have a chance to win the trophy they last won in 2002 again. They have defeated strong and talented squads to get that far and as matter of fact, the last time they lost a game under their new manager Hugo Broos was in their 3-2 friendly defeat away to France last May, when Dimitri Payet scored the winner in the final minute.

The Indomitable Lions are disciplined, determined, and are friends, we all know sometimes a team with aforementioned attributes can defeat a team with lots of talents.

After their convincing 2-0 victory over Ghana yesterday at the ongoing AFCON 2017, coach Hugo Broos revealed why it could be difficult for his team to beaten,”Maybe you will be surprised but in 29 years as a coach I have never had a group like this. They are 23 friends. I have never seen this,” he said.

“They are just 23 friends who like to play football and do everything to win the game so for me it’s very easy.”

I know Hugo Broos won’t necessarily be using the same players he paraded at AFCON 2017 for the world cup qualifiers as the likes of Schalke striker Eric Choupo-Moting, Liverpool defender Joel Matip and Allan Nyom of West Bromwich Albion would still be recalled. But regardless of the players, he would call on to do battle against Nigeria, we can be sure they are friends who will give all it takes to get a result.

Nigeria will host Cameroon on August 28, the reverse fixture comes up five days later on September 2, Rohr and his boys must not joke with these ties as it could determine who will take the ticket in the group.

Nigeria, Cameroon, Zambia and Algeria are all in Group B. Nigeria lead the group with six points after two rounds of matches, followed by Cameroon with two points. Zambia and Algeria, with two points apiece, occupy the third and fourth position respectively.

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