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Eagles is still work in progress, says Owolabi


Serbia’s defender Branislav Ivanovic (2L) vies with Nigeria’s striker Odion Ighalo during the International friendly football match between Nigeria and Serbia at the Hive stadium in Barnet, north London on March 27, 2018. Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

Former International, Felix Owolabi, has described the worries by some Nigerians, as unnecessary because of the not-too-convincing performances by the Super Eagles in their two friendly matches last week.

Nigeria defeated Poland 1-0 in Wroclaw and suffered a 0-2 loss to the Serbias in London. Lack of coordination characterised the team coupled with some deficiencies seen Coach Gernot Rohr’s ‘supposed’ first choice goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho, seemed to have dampened the hope of many.

Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Owolabi said the fans should not lose hope yet, as friendly matches are tuned ups for teams toward better performance at a major tournament.


“Friendlies are typical things used by coaches to reappraise the performance of their players particularly at a time when they are preparing for major tournaments.

“There are many areas that coaches will have to look into when preparing teams so as to know how far they have gone in their preparation. Unfortunately, here believe that we should always win them just like the competitive games.

“Yes I can understand the enthusiasm and passion we always shown for the game, but that is not what coaches are always interested in. If I can recollect, the late Coach Stephen Keshi lost most of his friendly games prior to winning the Nations Cup for the country in 2013,” he said.

The former Shooting Stars of Ibadan player added: “For me, I want to say that it is not a big deal that a team loses while preparing for a championship. From experience, most teams have shown that losing games in friendlies does not mean that you will not do well at the championship, because by the time they get there, they must have gotten their rhythm and be fire up for the tournament.

“Though it will be an added advantage for a team to win when preparing just to boosts morale of the players and also that of the coach. We are yet to get a perfect team. I want to believe that with the few friendlies left, the coach will find solutions before the start of the World Cup,” he stated.

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