Eagles must take friendlies seriously to improve in FIFA ranking, says Adelabu
Former international, Adegoke Adelabu, has expressed disgust in the attitude shown by the country towards friendly matches played by the Super Eagles during international break, saying that planning without results was an indication of poor preparation.
Nigeria is now in 32nd position in the latest FIFA ranking after dropping from last month’s rating of 29th. The Eagles’ last two matches against Algeria and Tunisia were not encouraging, as the team lost 0-1 to Algeria and played 1-1 draw with Tunisia.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Adelabu stated that it was high time the country’s football governing body, coaches and the players realised that friendly matches were part of the benchmarks used by the FIFA to assess countries, the better.
“I do not know anywhere in the world where the people saddled with responsibilities don’t do things on purpose. It’s only in Nigeria that I have seen such happening. I think we are the only country in the world where we don’t do things on purpose.
“I think in whatever capacity one finds himself, he must to do doings right because he is there for a reason. This is necessary so that he can give account of his stewardship and at the end of the day an evaluation can be done and we can be better for it except if what we are talking about here is not any international football engagement.
“This is not the first time we are being ranked by the football world governing body and yet we don’t seem to get it that friendly games also play a pivotal role in the way FIFA does its rating. The important thing is that when a country begins to engage in these friendlies, it is very important that she knows what she wants to achieve in those friendly matches,” he said, adding that the formation of the team must be taken seriously like any other competitive game.
“We shouldn’t just assemble a set of players together because we know them. A time has come when we must take every game seriously, as if we are playing the final of a competition against any country we’re playing against. We must play in such a way to achieve results, just as I noticed the Algerians did against us.
“If we don’t start handling our friendly games seriously as we are supposed, are we then saying that we don’t know that FIFA uses it to evaluate us? Not doing that will definitely affect the image of the Eagles. At this stage of our football, should we be still struggling with any team in Africa? Why should that be!
“By now, we should be competing with top countries in the world football. We shouldn’t be struggling with teams around the world if we had done the right thing. The reason why we are where we are today is because nobody is asked to give account of his stewardship and nobody has been fired for any wrongdoing.
“People who are in the position of our football just sit in the office and do as they like. The government itself doesn’t even care except for us to just participate in any competition. I remember a very tough friend match I played in Brazil. I later realised that the friendly match against a Brazillian team wasn’t a friendly game to them because they did not want to lose to us. This is the kind of attitude that Nigeria must have. We shouldn’t take things for granted. How can we be number four in Africa? Why should that be? We really need to sit up if we want to achieve greatness in our football,” he stated.