From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Nigeria former international, Garba Lawal has expressed fears over the possibility of the Home-based Super Eagles withstanding the pressure from the Kano fans, when they take on the Squirrels of Benin Republic in the second leg of the Total 2018 African Nations Championship CHAN qualifier tie this weekend.
The home-based Eagles at the weekend suffered a late minute defeat in the hands of their host, the Squirrels of Benin, in the first leg of the CHAN qualifier encounter, mounting pressure on themselves for the return leg clash scheduled for the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano.
Lawal, who spoke to Daily Sunsports on telephone from his Kaduna base yesterday warned that the players must take the game out of reach from their visiting Benin Republic counterpart in the first 15 to 20 minutes or be ready to incur the wrath of the Kano fans.
Urging the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the managers of the team to deploy a psychologist to tune the players of what awaits them before the Kano fans, he charged the players to approach the game with winning mentality.
In his words: “Let me put it on record that all I know about the match and team were what I got from the media. Regardless of the situation, the team has 90 minutes to redeem the image of the country. My advice to the players is to be determined, be psychologically and mentally ready for the game.
“We should not lose hope because the players still have second chance with the home in Kano. They must however take their chances and ensure that the visitors does not make the game difficult for them.
“They should hit the ground running from the blast of the whistle and stop the visitors from coming at us. They must do everything to seal the game in the first 15 minutes. If I have my way, I would advice the players not to drag the match too late without taking the game out of reach to the visitors.
“However, my biggest fear is the ability of the current crop of players to play under pressure like we did during our playing days. We withstood pressures and even do well under pressure. In fact, we were comeback specialists but it’s not the same with the current Eagles players.”
“Many of them cannot play under pressure but they have already succeeded in putting themselves under pressure. They would have buried the game in Benin Republic instead of facing the Kano fans that will put them under more pressure.
“My fear is that playing 30 minutes without impressing the fans with goals will spell doom for the team. The fans are more interested in seeing outperform team play well. The team needs a psychologist to psyche them up on what to expect before the massive Kano fans. I just hope they will cope,” he said.