FIFA man and former publisher of African Football magazine, Emmanuel Maradas came down heavily on the Super Eagles of Nigeria yesterday, describing them as a low quality side without anything to show in the on-going African Cup of Nations.
And for this, he has predicted that there would be no hiding place for the Nigerians when they face star-studded Cote d'Ivoire in the quarter finals on. The Eagles finished second in their group, behind Burkina Faso and are condemned to play Cote d'Ivoire who topped their group.
Maradas said yesterday that his heart bled when he watched Nigeria struggle throughout the matches they played to get to this point.
"Your team is not solid and it has no star player. It is just an ordinary team. I feel sad to see Nigeria which used to be a powerhouse present a mediocre squad.
They have played poorly and only managed to escape the disgrace of being beaten in the first round. I feel sad because this is the same country that had star players like Kanu, Babayaro, Oliseh, Okocha and the list is endless.
What is the problem with Nigeria? Are you saying that out of the millions of people in Nigeria, you cannot get up to seven star players? What is the problem with Nigeria?", Maradas asked repeatedly.
This is a country that I love so much. A country of the greats in African football". He shook his head in utter disbelief. Nigeria should not struggle in any group in African football.
Look at Cape Verde. They are the surprise team of the tournament".
He was asked about the chances of the Eagles against Cote d'Ivoire and he shot back. "You have no chance. You'll struggle.
They have better players in all compartments. Even Drogba who has moved to Galatassaray is a threat. I will give Cote d'Ivoire 60% and Nigeria 40% chance of moving on.
If you put Nigeria 10 years back, I will rate them 50-50. That is how bad your Eagles have fallen. A country with so much and millions of people cannot raise a dreaded squad, no, it is a shame.
I know football can be funny but not with these type of your team against Cote d'Ivoire", he said.