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Adepoju warns against acts capable of ruining Super Eagles’ qualification


Nigeria’s squad (back L-R) defender Kenneth Omeruo, defender Elderson Uwa Echiejile, goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi, defender Leon Balogun, defender William Troost-Ekong, midfielder John Obi Mikel, (L-R) midfielder Victor Moses, midfielder Ogenyi Onazi, forward Oghenekaro Etebo, forward Alex Iwobi and forward Kelechi Iheanacho pose for a group picture ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup African zone group B qualifying football match between Nigeria and Algeria at the Akwa Ibom State Stadium in Uyo on November 12, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

Nigeria is comfortably perched on top of Group B of the Africa’s Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying series with six points from two matches, but former Super Eagles’ Midfielder, Mutiu Adepoju says that such comfort could be easily wiped out by extraneous forces.

Four points separate Nigeria from Cameroon (two), Algeria (one) and Zambia (one), but the Super Eagles have a double-header with Cameroon in September, which is capable of changing the equation. There are six points at stake in these matches.

Adepoju knows how fragile a lead can be as he was among Nigerians, who watched and prayed without effect as Angola stopped the Super Eagles from qualifying for the Germany 2006 World Cup after all the best pundits had given the Christian Chukwu-led team the ticket.

That 2006 campaign was marred by a distractive power tussle among stakeholders in Nigerian football. To avoid a repeat of the 2006 fiasco,
Adepoju yesterday appealed to Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo to lend his support for Nigeria’s bid to be at the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup.

He urged the Presidency to help persuade ‘enemies of Nigerian football’ from scuttling the country’s bid to be in Russia, alleging, “it is obvious some people are working to stop Nigeria’s flag from being hoisted in Russia. These enemies are plotting their graph outside the field of play and in the nation’s interest, the Presidency need to intervene before it becomes too late. Any follower of the game in the country would know where this disturbing signal is coming from.”

He added that the “six points in the game against Cameroon can take the Indomitable Lions above Nigeria in the race if we lost the two games.

“We should be preparing for the match against Cameroon instead of wasting energy at the law courts. It is distractive and if we are not careful, we could even incur the wrath of world football governing body, FIFA, for allowing external forces to interfere with the administration of the game.”

Nigeria will host Cameroun in Uyo on September 1 and travel to Yaoundé for the return leg against the Indomitable Lions on September 5.

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