World Cup: Nigeria can still qualify from group stage – Oparaku


As Nigeria continues to lament the 0-2 loss to the Vatreni of Croatia, former Super Eagles defender, Mobi Okparaku, says the team could still qualify from their Group D.

The Super Eagles failed to win or draw their opening encounter with Croats, thereby joining fellow Africans, Egypt and Morocco in losing their opening Matches.

While the Pharoahs of Egypt lost 0-1 to Uruguay, Morocco also fell 0-1 to Iran.

Okparaku told NAN on Sunday in Owerri that Super Eagles could qualify if they stepped up their game both in the midfield and attack in their subsequent games.

NAN reports that Okparaku was part of the Nigerian victorious team that won the Olympic tournament in 1996 and also made the list for France 1998 World Cup.

He said the Croatians were more technical than the Eagles players both in the first and second half of the game.

Analysing the match, Okparaku said that though the odds were against Nigeria but the Super Eagles could still make up in their remaining two games.

According to him, Nigeria are so far trailing with zero point in the group, while Croatia is on top with three points.

“Argentina who drew with Iceland in the first encounter in the group follow with one point as well as Iceland.

Opkaraku, who is the Team Manager, Heartland FC of Owerri, said: “Our attack is weak and the midfield is also weak, so the technical department should work on these observations in our next game.

“The Super Eagles coach should also be tactical in studying games because I was not too comfortable with the late changes he made.’’

Meanwhile, a former Director of sports in Imo, Mr Kingsley Ibe, blamed Super Eagles woes in their World Cup opener on the team’s Manager Gernot Rohr.

He said that Rohr was unable to read the game against Croatia and discover lapses on time.

He added that the late changes caused Nigeria the game and advised that “Kelechi Iheanacho must start every Nigerian game’’.

Ibe blamed the coach for allowing captain of the team, Mikel Obi, to play till 75 minutes without any impact.

Nigeria will face Iceland in their second group game the tournament on June 22. (NAN)


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