Emmanuel Amuneke has insisted that the Super Eagles can perform superbly at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, but has sensationally warned the Eagles gaffer, Gernot Rohr not to build the team on any player, saying it could back fire.
Nigeria is grouped with Argentina, Iceland and Croatia in the World Cup fiesta which kicks off on Thursday.
Amuneke, a member of the Super Eagles squad that won the 1994 Nations Cup and got to the second round of the World Cup in USA ’94, stated matter of factly that football has departed from analogue to digital, and as a result, the eleven players on the field are viewed as one indivisible particle that must work as one.
“When it comes to the national team,, it is highly a team work, from the goalkeeper to the attackers. Ndidi is strong, Kelechi is good, Ighalo is good Mikel is good, intact all the players.These guys will do well in Russia. But without team work, whatever player you build the team around, they are not going to achieve anything”
Amuneke, a former Sporting Lisbon and Barcelona FC of Spain player, further warned the Eagles not to underrate any team, as it could be a costly mistake on their part.
“The teams in the group should not be underrated.
They should take the teams one as they come.
“If you look at our group, it’s a very a good group. It’s 50-50 for each of the teams.
“You don’t underestimate any team because if you look at every team, they all have their rich pedigree in world football.
“Argentina, of course, have one of the best players in the world, Croatia have some of the best quality players though they struggled to qualify.
“When we were going to play against Argentina a couple of weeks ago, it was 6 to 1. But you see the truth is that in Nigeria we always believe and once we believe, we conquer.
“Our players are quite patriotic, they love the green white green and want to make the country proud.
“We have a team for tomorrow. We have a team for the next Nations Cup. A team for the next World Cup. Our team is peopled by youthfulness. They have that energy they want to burn out,” he said.
He however frowned at the way and manner young Nigerian players struggle to play in Europe without first horning their talents very well, saying it is affecting the quality of their play..
“Back then, we were willing to learn. Our focus was to train, enjoy it, and whatever comes we take it. Today, most players are on the level of creeping, but they at the same time want to run to Europe to make millions.
“This leads to our players playing in lower divisions abroad and it becomes difficult for them to compete well at international competitions. They should not be in a rush.
“However, we must tell ourselves the truth. We must develop our league, by improving on the facilities and players’ welfare. When we played, the league was very competitive. Players wanted to play for Abiola Babes, Iwuanyanwu Nationale, Stationnery Stores, etc, I’m not saying that the league is not strong now, we have talents, but they have to take their time so that they can go to better clubs. The reality is that football continues to change. South Africa created a platform to develop their league and football, today they are beating Nigeria. We must endeavour to develop our football locally to keep these boy at home. We must have plans and stop dream,ing, knowing that dreams without plans amount to nothing.
“And the clubs themselves should also develop themselves. How many clubs have feeder teams in Nigeria? If we are talking about development, we must have long term plan. Are we ready as a country to compete? Are we hoping to win the World Cup, then we must look beyond Russia 2018.”