…We must avoid complacency, says Ugbade
Former international, Nduka Ugbade, has warned the Eagles to avoid any form of complacency in their last qualifying match for Qatar 2022 playoff. The Eagles play against Cape Verde’s Blue Sharks today. The match is slated for the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere in Lagos.
Nigeria currently tops the group with 12 points and Cape Verde is occupying the second spot with 10 points with both countries primed to qualify for the next round of the series if anyone slips. Nigeria only needs a draw to progress to the next stage of the qualifier.
Speaking to The Guardian yesterday, Ugbade said he was sure that the Eagles would be well motivated for the crucial duel against their opponent to avoid being denied of a place for Qatar 2022, adding that the players themselves know what is at stake playing at the World Cup.
“I think the Eagles will be well motivated to secure the only slot for the playoff en route to Qatar 2022. The Eagles are always eager to qualify for a major competition, especially when they come face to face with such an opportunity. This is why Nigerians will always have cause to celebrate at the end of the qualifying series.
“The situation is now clear to us; beat Cape Verde, secure the three points and qualify for the playoff. With 12 points in our kitty, beating our opponent will guarantee us 15 points even though what we need is a draw to keep hope alive. We too should start behaving like the Germans who do not show mercy to their opponents even though they have qualified for any tournament,” he said.
The former assistant coach of the Golden Eaglets added, “I hope the players will learn from what happened to us during the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Sierra Leone, when the Eagles despite leading 4-0, later drew the match played at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City.
“The only loss Eagles suffered during the current qualifier against the Central African Republic is also a pointer why Nigeria must avoid being overconfident and face the game squarely because there are no minnows any longer in African football.
“I have watched Cape Verde a number of times and I know it will be pretty difficult to beat them even though we beat them at home. These guys have proved to be a very formidable team. When they were losing at home against the Central African Republic, they came back from a goal down and eventually scored another one to secure a win and stand a chance of playing Nigeria in today’s epic battle.
“With the calibre of players we have in the Super Eagles, who I think are playing in top clubs in Europe, the issue of Cape Verde posing a threat to us is something players like Victor Osimhen, Wilfred Ndidi, Kelechi Iheanacho and the rest of them can deal with. I know at the end of the 90 minutes, the Eagles will put smiles on everyone’s face,” he stated.