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Eagles can't afford to fail –Galadima

Posted by Everest Onyewuchi and Nurudeen Obalola on 2005/09/03 | Views: 474 |

Eagles can't afford to fail –Galadima


The Nigeria Football Association (NFA) has drawn from the reserve of its resources to ensure that the Super Eagles win Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against the Desert Warriors of Algeria.

The Nigeria Football Association (NFA) has drawn from the reserve of its resources to ensure that the Super Eagles win Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against the Desert Warriors of Algeria.

NFA chairman, Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima, said the association broke the bank to ensure that a tantalizing winning bonus is offered to the Super Eagles towards spurring the team to triumph over the Desert Warriors tomorrow in the “Battle of Oran,” Algeria.

Galadima said that as a result, the Eagles cannot afford to fail Nigeria in this crucial match.

The NFA is dangling over $5,000 (about N725, 000.00) as a winning bonus before the players for the must-win World Cup qualifier, according to Galadima.

He told our correspondent over the telephone on Wednesday before jetting out to Algeria that the juicy bonus, which has drawn the association to its financial limits, is aimed at motivating the players to victory in the match.

“Let me say that this is not the time to talk about money because the players are not even talking about money. They are focused for the match and know what is at stake.

“However, each of them will be paid $5,000 if they win the match against Algeria. We (NFA) have done the best within our limitations. Our fate is no longer in the NFA’s hands, but the players will now carry the burden,” Galadima disclosed.

The NFA boss called on Nigerians to pray for the success of the Super Eagles in tomorrow’s World Cup battle in Oran, Algeria, against the Desert Warriors.

Eagles could get their foundering World Cup campaign back on track on Sunday when they play Algeria in the World Cup qualifier, where their faint hopes could also be dashed for good.

Eagles’ home draw against Angola in Kano in June left Nigeria needing to win their two remaining games while also hoping that the southern Africans drop points. Nigeria have to break a long-running jinx of not winning in Algeria to stand any chancing of taking the race to the wire as the Angolans, who have won all their home games, are expected to see off Gabon in Luanda also on Sunday.

But Eagles should not expect any favours from their hosts, who are still bristling with indignation after losing a World Basketball Championship ticket to Nigeria’s D’Tigers in a bad-tempered classification match in Algiers last month.

An outright victory is the only option left to the Austin Eguavoen-led team as anything less than a win for Nigeria will literally hand the sole ticket to Angola, if the southern Africans defeat Gabon in Luanda.

Nigeria, who have 15 points from eight matches, the same as Angola but behind on head-to-head, will be without their captain, Austin Okocha, but other players in the squad have shown commitment by reporting to the team’s camp in Faro, Portugal early.

Eguavoen and his coterie of assistants- Samson Siasia, Daniel Amokachi, Amusa Adisa and Ike Shorunmu- have an almost full complement of stars to work with and Marseille playmaker, Wilson Oruma, should replace Okocha in central midfield.

Vincent Enyeama leads the goalkeepers in Oran, while Obafemi Martins, Ayodele Makinwa, Isaac Promise and off-form Middlesbrough striker, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, will fight for the two striking shirts.

Recalcitrant teenager and Lyn Oslo midfielder, Mikel Obi, who has refused to return to his club despite FIFA’s directive, should start on the bench, while Seyi Olofinjana, Sani Kaita and Kazeem Atanda Ayila vie for the defensive midfield position.

The two Josephs in the team, Yobo and Enakhaire, are expected in central defence, as Taiye Taiwo and Chidi Odiah should start as full backs.

The Eagles should expect a hostile reception from the North Africans, who are still unhappy after Nigeria, denied them a place at the World Basketball Championship. The fans will instigate their footballers to take their pound of flesh by contributing to Nigeria’s elimination.

Besides, the Algerians, who were Nigeria’s last opponents on the Eagles’ way to their first ever World Cup appearance in 1994, still have a slim chance of squeezing their way into the Nations Cup in Egypt as either the third-placed team in the group or the best fourth-placed team in the event of host Egypt’s automatic qualification.

Algeria are in fifth place with seven points after eight games and a win for them could take them to within reach of Zimbabwe and Gabon, who are in third and fourth places, with 12 and nine points respectively.

Although the Eagles have never won on Algerian soil, the North Africans have not fared too well at home in this campaign, winning only once, drawing twice and losing 3-0 to Gabon, while the Nigerians have the stunning 3-0 victory over Zimbabwe in Harare last September to call on for inspiration.

A few hours to the match, Angola will host Gabon and the result means as much to the teams playing as Nigerians watching thousands of miles away. Nigerians are praying for a slip from the cocky Angolans, who have never been this close to a World Cup ticket, and a bout of nerves could hand the Eagles a route back to Germany after they had lost their way with some dodgy results, highlighted by the home draw against Angola in Kano.

Super Eagles were in a similar situation during the qualifiers for Korea/Japan 2002 when Liberia led the race into the last rounds of games. But a combination of Nigeria’s 4-0 win in Sudan and Liberia’s 2-1 home defeat to Ghana handed the initiative back to Nigeria and they duly qualified. For Liberia, it was a case of buckling under the massive weight of expectations and Angola could tread the same path, but the Eagles have to be there to take advantage in the event of a slip.

Also counting in the Eagles’ favour is Gabon’s Nations Cup ambition and their good record on the road. Although Gabon’s first away game was a 3-1 loss to Rwanda, they defeated Algeria 3-0 away and almost ran away with a draw against the Eagles in Port Harcourt before a late rally saved the day for Nigeria.

The Panthers have their sights set on catching up with Zimbabwe, if the Warriors slip up at home to bottom side Rwanda. With the Nations Cup place to fight for, Gabon will not be easy meat for Angola, although the Palanca Negras have not dropped any points at home.

SATURDAY PUNCH, September 03, 2005

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.