4 January 2013

Nigeria: Mixed Reactions Trail Eagles' Draw Against Catalonia

Lagos — Former Nigerian internationals have continued to react to the performance of the Super Eagles against the selected Catalonia side in an international friendly match played in Spain on Wednesday.

The Nigerian team forced Catalonia, who paraded players such as Xavi, Gerrard Pique and Carles Puyol to a 1-1 draw. The game was one of the build-up matches for the Africa Cup of Nations kicking off in South Africa on January19.

To Christian Chukwu, a member of the technical committee of Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, the outcome of the match should have given the players confidence ahead of the Nations Cup, adding that the players' performance will give Coach Stephen Keshi a 'good selection' headache when choosing his 23-man list for the African championship.

"There is no doubt that the match has put Eagles' coaches in a serious pressure of who to take to the Nations Cup especially when the game was played in the absence of some foreign based players. This is a good development that will boost the morale of the players. I think we have achieved the essence of the friendly match, which is to assess the level of preparedness of the team for the African championship," said Chukwu, a former captain and later coach of the Eagles.

Garba Lawal, a former star of Roda JC in the Dutch Eredivisie, believes the Eagles played below expectation, adding that they should not rest on their oars as the Nations Cup will be a different ball game.

"I don't care about the outcome of the match against Catalonia, who did not play their game in the friendly. We can all see that the Eagles' opponents did not play as a team at all. My concern is the Nations Cup. Our team must raise their game because the journey has just started," said Lawal, who is currently a contracted player/assistant manager with Lobi Stars F.C.

Jonathan Akpoborie said though the result was good, the Eagles still need to step up their game if Nigeria will make a considerably impact at the Nations Cup.

"Keshi still need to do a lot of work on the team to make the Eagles ready for the Nations Cup," said Akpoborie, who started his professional career at Julius Berger, before moving to USA.

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