Ex-Nigeria international goalkeeper Abiodun Baruwa has warned the home-based Eagles not to get carried away with their unbeaten run-in to 2016 CHAN but rather remain focused on the bigger task in Rwanda.
After eliminating Burkina Faso to qualify for the 2016 CHAN, they were forced to a 1-1 draw by Angola and beat Cote d’Ivoire in warm-up matches ahead of the tournament beginning this weekend in Rwanda.
However, former Nigeria goalkeeper Baruwa, who is now a qualified coach and agent in UK, said that the players should not get carried away by their impressive build-up, which was capped on Monday with a win over CHAN-bound Cote d’Ivoire.
“My advise for them is to be focused and relax but enjoy the experience,” he said. “They should not be carried away by their unbeaten run in the friendly games, every team know friendly matches and competition are two different ball games.”
Meanwhile, Former Super Eagles star, Mutiu Adepoju, has urged members of the home-based national team to go all out for victory in the African Nations Championship (CHAN) billed to kick off in Rwanda on Saturday. That, according to him, is the only way Nigeria can regain respect among African footballing nations.
He explained that the Super Eagles’ Coach, Sunday Oliseh’s rebuilding process has helped in ensuring that only credible players were called up to play for the country, adding that players now know they can get into the team only through hard work.
Adepoju, however, wants the payers to justify the confidence the coaches reserved in them. The former Racing Santander of Spain midfielder believes there are still many talented players waiting to be discovered in the local league, saying that building a solid home-based squad will bring healthy competition in the team.
Adepoju enjoined the Super Eagles not to underrate any team at the CHAN, adding that there are no more minnows in African football.
“The players should have at the back of their minds that Nigeria has not had it right since the championship started. But winning the championship should not be the only focus of Oliseh; he should also use the tournament to discover talents.
“Nigeria has talented players that can make their mark in African football,” he said. Commenting on the recently held Ballon d’Or, where European and American stars dominated the awards, Adepoju said the non-recognition of Nigerian and other African players is a reflection of then level of football in the continent.
He, therefore, called on African players to work hard and raise the standard of their game if they desired to compete favorably with their counterparts from other parts of the world.