By Olanrewaju Akojede
Former National team Coach, Kadri Ikhana and Edema Fuludu, ex-Super Eagles player, on Sunday commended the sterling display of the Super Eagles of Nigeria against Sao Tome and Principe.
Both football greats gave their commendations while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the heels of the Super Eagles 6-0 mauling of Sao Tome and Principe at the Nest of Champions, Godswill Akpabio Stadium Uyo, Akwa Ibom.
NAN reports that the Super Eagles of Nigeria in their last match of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers roundly defeated minnows Sao Tome and Principe 6-0 with an aggregate of 16-0 after the first leg away had ended 10-0.
A hat-trick by Napoli striker and Balloon D’Or nominee, Victor Osimhen, and a goal each by Ademola Lookman, Taiwo Awoniyi, and substitute Samuel Chukwueze, ensured the team finished top of Group A ahead of Guinea Bissau with 15 points.
Ikhana, a CAF Champions League winner with Enyimba International FC in 2003, said the Super Eagles merited the accolades from Nigerians.
“The team actually merited this because the 16-0 aggregate win is a good record and we must commend the players and the technical crew.
“We should also commend our striker, Osimhen, for a beautiful job of scoring hat-trick in the game, it shows that he is improving a lot.
“Technically, the team has improved a lot from what they used to be, now we have more team work and they understand themselves better.
“We also want to see a better version of them in the future while the administration should also work on how they can improve,” he said.
Ikhana, who coached the Dream Team in 2014, said though there would be much expectations from the Eagles at the 2024 AFCON, the team should not gamble.
“As a coach, I will not like to predict what lies ahead in the AFCON 2014, either to set a target or give an opinion, it is the team that can decide what happens.
“The Eagles’ team only needs few things here and there to make it better and by the grace of God, they should continue to make the country proud,” he said.
Fuludu on his part said the 6-0 goal margin was significant as it would motivate the entire team more.
“Scoring 6-0 in an international march is a wide margin. We didn’t expect anything less from the team, so a big congratulations to our Super Eagles for the qualification.
“A warm appreciation to our striker, Osimhen, who was able to increase his goal tally to be the highest Africa goal scorer. It is also a plus because Nigeria will be rated higher, but the real test is in AFCON.
“We need to brace up, since Peseiro said winning the AFCON is his priority, we pray that he gets all that he wants to achieve that target,” he said.
Fuludu also noted that Nigeria should not take anything to chance and expect miracle.
“Nigeria is a former powerhouse of football in Africa. So, anything short of wining the AFCON is underperformance, no matter the pressure.
“For this dead rubber match, if we can invite 22 foreign-based players, that is not prudent.
“We spend so much money bringing in players for a dead rubber game on a match that we should have deployed our home-based players to prosecute.
“If we are spending so much on a dead rubber game like this, we should not expect anything less in the AFCON, that is when we can congratulate ourselves more,” he said. (NAN)