Forget Friendly, Expect best performance in the World Cup – Dalung
Solomon Dalung, the Minister for Youth and Sports on Thursday urged Nigerians not to be disappointed at the poor performance of the Super Eagles in their tune-up matches against England and Czech Republic as their best would come during the World Cup.
The Super Eagles had not been impressive in the friendly matches they played against the Three Lions of England and Narodak of Czech Republic. Following the below par performance of the Super Eagles, many football fans have questioned the commitment of the team to the herculean task of defending the country’s colours in Russia.
“I appreciate the concerns of Nigerians that the last two matches seem not to meet the test of our passion, but I think the matches were played with a lot of strategic plans.
“The ultimate performance is the world cup and if in the course of playing friendlies we incapacitate our great potentials then the essence of going to the world cup is defeated.
“So, I think our team played the friendly with a lot of caution.’’
Dalung said that in spite of the doubts being expressed by the teeming football fans in the country, the team would likely spring up surprises at the June 14 kick-off.
“During the qualifiers for the World Cup, a lot of people didn’t believe that the Super Eagles would qualify for the event because of the way they started.
“But at the end, we qualified for the competition with a match left to play in the qualifiers, so we should hope for the best from the team and give them our support,’’he said.
The Super Eagles would open their account at the World Cup on June 16 against the Vatreni of Croatia at the Kaliningrad Stadium, in the City of Kaliningrad.
Nigeria is in group D alongside Argentina, Iceland and Croatia while the competition would end on July 14.