By Patrick Andrew:
Super Eagles’ technical adviser, Lars Lagerback has promised to make drastic changes that would allow only the best Nigerian players irrespective of where they are plying their trades to wear the national colours, this June at the World Cup, in South Africa.
Lagerback, who believes that Nigeria is not lacking in talents, observed that a good number of these talents had not been opportunned to offer their services to the nation and stressed that he would create a level playing ground for the best to play for the nation.
Already, Lagerback said he has been in touch with some of these players whom he believes would be given the chance to prove themselves before the mundial.
“I’ve been in touch with Nigerian players, both young and old, and I’m quite familiar with their performances week in and week out. There are good Nigerian players who are not playing for the national team at the moment whom I strongly believe should be playing for the Super Eagles.
“I have always believed in the Nigerian team. I strongly believe the best players of every country should be in the national team.”
The 61-year-old Swede, who clinched the post ahead of Bruno Metsu, Glenn Hoddle, Sven-Goran Eriksson, and Ratomir Djukovic, assured that merit would be the basic yardstick for selection to the national.
“It all depends on fitness and mental readiness of such players to play for Nigeria. Why not, if such players are still good enough to carry on?”, he said implying that the likes of Nwankwo Kanu, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Seyi Olofiyana could still make the squad if they could prove their mettles.
Though he had never worked in Africa before, he dismissed insinuations that he may have difficulty adjusting to African weather, administrative standard and players’ attitude.
“Well, lot of people have said that but in life there’s always a first time. I am ready to work here, I have counted the costs and the sacrifices I need to put in and I’m confident I can successfully lead this team.”
Besides,Largerback said he is looking forward to a meeting with the NFF, Eagles’ skipper and others for a formal discussion with them on his plans for the team within the next few weeks.
“We will meet as soon as possible to rule out our plans for the team. We have to discuss how we intend to monitor players needed for the World Cup.”
The former Sweden coach, who will be assisted by Austin Eguavoen, Daniel Amokachi and Alloy Agu, wants to bring his own backroom staff particulrly his physical trainer from Sweden, to join the technical crew.
Nigeria will play in Group B against Argentina,Greece and South Korea at the World Cup in June.
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