Cape Verde, CAR, Liberia can spoil Nigeria’s World Cup chances, says Esin
Former International, Etim Esin, has warned Super Eagles not to be overconfident over the countries they will face in the qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals in Qatar, saying the countries would make it tough for Nigeria to scale through.
Nigeria is in Group C that looks easy alongside Cape Verde, Central African Republic and Liberia in the draw conducted on Tuesday by CAF. The country had a similar draw that looked easy but failed to qualify, losing out to the Palancas Negras of Angola on the head to head rules for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Esin said taking the World Cup qualifiers lightly might spell doom for Nigeria qualifying for the next Mundial, adding that other countries seemed to be more professional and organised when it comes to football of that magnitude. He said that everything had been politicised in the country.
“Our qualification for the World Cup in Qatar may not be as easy as it may look on paper. Over the years our football has stunted, whereas every other African country have upgraded themselves and caught up with us.
“We may look at the countries in group C and think it is going to be easy, but I tell you 90 minutes in each match will decide the result. So, we shouldn’t be overconfident with any of the qualifiers,” he said.
“Overconfidence killed us during the qualification for the Germany 2006 World Cup, and we lost to Angola on head to head rules. This was despite having countries like Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Gabon, Angola and Algeria in our group.”
“At a point in 1994, we were number five in the world but where are we today? This time around, we should be more prepared and be professional in preparation for the qualifiers.
“Let’s call a spade a spade. We too have to upgrade and move forward. We shouldn’t underestimate any country because when you underrate the next man’s potential that is when you lose a battle. We have to prepare well and we are more professional like it’s been done in other countries. Politics has been the greatest undoing in our football,” he stated.
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