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Knocks, accolades trail Lagerback list

The 30-man Super Eagles provisional list which will be pruned down to 23 on June 1, was dominated by players used by former Coach Shaibu…

The 30-man Super Eagles provisional list which will be pruned down to 23 on June 1, was dominated by players used by former Coach Shaibu Amodu to prosecute the World Cup and Nations Cup qualifiers, which Nigerians criticized  as lacking the character to put up excellent outing at the mundial.

Aside that some of those who spoke on the issue said the coach did not give the invited players the opportunity to prove themselves before shoving aside some of them.

The Nigeria Football Federation swiftly defended the coach’s decision, saying he monitored some of the players through video clips to determine their strength and fitness level to be World Cup materials.

A member of the Nigeria Football Federation Executive Committee Dominic Iorfa said Lagerback’s choice of players was right because they were picked on merit.

According to the former Super Eagles attacker, the players in the provisional list were selected based on their current showing in their respective clubs, including the two from the local league.

Former Super Eagles defender, Taribo West said that time is short for national team handler, Lars Lagerback to make an impact at the South Africa 2010 World Cup.

Instead, he urged Nigerians to exercise patience and to rally round the soccer tactician to enable him achieve something meaningful at the mundial, as well as restore the country’s soccer pride.

“Time is not on his side and I want Nigerians not to expect much from this team. What we should do is give Lagerback a free hand to work with the team.

“We should be patient to see what he can do in the few years he has with the team. We should join hands and support him so that he can restructure the team. Let’s see how he can build a strong team for the future and hope that pride will return to this country,” said West.

Also former national team Coach Kelechi Emetole yesterday said Super Eagles Coach Lars Lagerback was wrong in his approach to the choice selection of a 30-man list of players from where 23 will be picked make the squad to the South Africa 2010 World Cup. Emetole, who stated this in a telephone interview with Trustsports, noted that Lagerback would have allowed the players to train for him to get the best to represent the country at the World Cup.

The former national youth team coach asked rhetorically why and how the coach was able to drop some players without seen them kick the ball, saying the selection was not based on merit.

Consequently, the Heartland of Owerri tactician declared that nothing much will be achieved by Nigeria in South Africa since the players were selected not based on merit.  He also noted that the coach has not yet made any difference to the Nigerian team since taking over last March, stressing that he is still operating with the players that Amodu used in prosecuting the Nations Cup and the World Cup qualifiers.

“When was the list released and how did he arrive at the list? I am asking this because he (Lagerback) would have watched all the invited players in training and pick the list on merit. That is the best way of doing it. So it is very wrong to drop players without seen them play.

“The irony of the whole thing is that he is still using the same crop of players that Amodu used and was criticized, he has not discovered one player since coming here.

“To me, this is giving the players automatic shirts and it should not be so. He would have allowed all the players to fight for shirts and prove their worth”, Emetole concluded.


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