NIGERIA, EGYPT, SENEGAL, TUNISIA AND MOROCCO – five African nations, representing the continent in Russia 2018 World Cup, will attract the continent and world attention as they join other qualified countries at the world cup event beginning June 14, in Russia. They will be seeking glory by winning the world cup, first time for the content, perhaps in Russia 2018 edition. Nigeria will play its first Group D match against Croatia, June 16.
Football capacity, available in Africa presently, is adequate to respond to the demands of winning the world cup in Russia. Nigeria, Egypt, Senegal, Tunisia and Morocco have earned top ranks in soccer in Africa, in the past and present. These countries representing Africa in Russia 2018 World Cup could make their mark, by winning the world cup, first time, for the continent, in Russia.
After leading Atletico Madrid to 3-2 victory over Nigeria’s Team B Super Eagles to lift the maiden GOtv Max Cup, Tuesday, May 22nd, in Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Atletico’s Manager, Diego Simeone remarked: “I am really surprised by the way they played given the fact that this is not the main Nigerian team. Your team is good, very strong. They made the game difficult for us. Good luck to them”.
Simeone at the post match briefing also remarked that it could be difficult for the Super Eagles to stop Lionel Messi and the Argentine squad when both countries, in the same Group D, square-up. His words: “Lionel Messi is a special player. He is difficult to stop if he is in good shape. I don’t see your Super Eagles stopping Messi because he wants to win the World Cup before retiring. But good luck to all the teams going to the World Cup”.
Simeone’s assessment of the Argentine team and Nigeria’s squad should be taken seriously. He was a skilled former Argentine midfielder, and presently an accomplished Atletico Madrid Manager that lifted the 2018 Europa League Trophy, Wednesday, May 16th.
Lionel Messi, no doubt, is a world-class player. This should not be a fret to Nigeria’s Super Eagles. Lionel Messi is containable. Gernot Rohr, Super Eagles Technical Adviser and the team’s handlers should work hard on the defence-line to put Lionel Messi on check. Argentina is a one man-squad with Messi as the figure.
Before Russia 2018 World Cup commences in June 14, just less that two weeks, 23-man strong Super Eagles squad will emerge from the 30-man provisional list released by Gernot Rohr to take on Iceland, Croatia and Argentina in Group D. Only the best is good enough to take-on the world. This should be the goal of the Super Eagles handlers.
Familiar names on the team list and the players present forms, give Gernot Rohr’s team solid shape. These players are individually very talented. With team spirit, technical discipline and right mental attitude, this talented Nigerian squad may excel in Russia.