Former Super Eagles captain, Joseph Yobo has thrown his weight behind the national team, urging them to take the game as they come and put up a good fight against their Group D opponents.
Yobo, who is the Super Eagles all-time record appearance holder at the World Cup, said Gernot Rohr-led squad is blessed with talented and fearless young players who can hold their own against any team.
The Super Eagles begin their Group D campaign against Croatia in Kaliningrad, before taking on Iceland and then Lionel Messi and Co.
“It should be one game at a time,” Nigeria’s joint-most-capped player (101 appearances), who played at Korea/Japan 2002, South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014 before retiring, told News Agency of Nigeria. “You don’t go to the World Cup and be dreaming of playing in the Final when you are not done with what you have right before you first in the group stage.
“Win your first game first, and prepare for the next one without thinking of the third game. It should be one at a time. I don’t think it is good to lose the first game and begin to panic.
“If the Super Eagles can win the first game, the confidence and quality will build and Nigerians will see quality in them as the competition progresses.
Nigeria and Argentina will play their fifth World Cup encounter in St. Petersburg. Claudio Caniggia’s brace – he scored the first after a clever free-kick between Diego Maradona and Gabriel Batistuta, and added a superb second – seized the South Americans a 2-1 win at USA 1994. Yobo then played in 1-0 losses in 2002 and 2010 and a Messi-inspired 3-2 defeat in 2014.
However, without Victor Moses, John Obi Mikel, Wilfred Ndidi, Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho overcame Nicolas Otamendi, Angel Di Maria, Paulo Dybala and Sergio Aguero 4-2 in a friendly last November.
“I played against Argentina in three World Cups,” said Yobo. “Maybe this is the time for Nigeria to record her first victory over the Albeceleste. If we don’t concede an early goal against Argentina, we should be able to get at least a draw.
“Croatia, Iceland… anything can happen. Croatia we know, but Iceland is the surprise package of Group D.
“I disagree with those worrying about the Super Eagles’ defence. What is important is experience. Yes, we may not have experienced senior players in that area but we have talented, fearless young players who can hold their own against any team.
I really don’t think the defence is as bad as is being portrayed.”
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from LEADERSHIP Nigeria Newspapers. Contact: [email protected]