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From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Nigeria former international, Mutiu Adepoju, has warned the Super Eagles to put behind them the victory against the Argentine national team in the Russia international friend played on Tuesday.
Adepoju equally dismissed the impression that the Eagles would not have beaten Argentine if mercurial forward, Lionel Messi was on parade.
Adepoju, told Daily Sun sports yesterday that though Messi would have made appreciable impact if he was in action, he would not have however changed the final outcome of the match.
“I want to believe that what really worked in favour of the Super Eagles was the team spirit, team work, concentration and that I can do-it spirit. Many believed that Messi’s absence gave Eagles the confidence but I beg to disagree.
“Does it mean that without Messi they won’t play the game. Agreed that Messi is world best and his contribution would have mattered but I don’t think he would have made any difference to change the outcome of the game,” he insisted.
On whether the outcome of the match shocked him, Headmaster, as he is fondly called, said: “The result against Argentina did not come as a shock to me. Yes, Argentina no doubt is one of the best football playing countries in the world, but I won’t say I was surprised with the result.
“The Super Eagles played very well and gave good account of themselves. The biggest takeaway is that the outcome of the game is very important for the team build up to the World Cup,” he said.
Asked if it is right to say that the Eagles are ready for World Cup with the victory, Adepoju said: “It would be wrong to say that the team has arrived. The match really set the tone for the World Cup but we cannot rate the team with the victory in this international friendly. They still need more games to prepare. What I would rather advise the Eagles is to continue with this tempo.
“Let this victory not enter into their heads. They should not display that over confidence hearing people celebrate them for beating Argentina. They should not celebrate the victor as if they have won the World Cup.
“There are still so many games and matches to play and they should know that every game is different. They should keep their heads cool and continue with the preparations. They should not allow the victory get into their heads,” he warned.
The former Eagles wing wizard also commented on the crisis in the goalkeeping department, arguing that the defe, attack and midfield require the attention of the technicals crew ahead of the world soccer fiesta in Russia next year.
“I strongly believe that the coaches will know what to do,” he said, adding: “There is no debate on whether the second half was better than the first half in the goalkeeping department.
“I know that the technical crew will do what they are required to do before the World Cup. However, I want to say that it is not only the goalkeeping department that has problem. They should continue working on all the departments,” he warned..
While advising the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to map out deliberate strategic plan to constantly unit the team, he said: “Going forward, I would tell the football federation to continue with what they have been doing.”
“They should do everything to make the players feel comfortable to continue with the good preparations we are seeing now. Let there be peace and harmony in the team. If need be, the federation should shop for another grade A friendly for the team,” he said.