DON'T CRUCIFY EAGLES YET â€“ CHUKWU
A former Nigeria captain Christian Chukwu insists it is wrong to write off the Super Eagles' chances of making an impact at the forthcoming World Cup in South Africa after the team struggled to a goalless draw with Saudi Arabia in their friendly match in Austria on Tuesday.
The neat passing and clever movement of the unrated Saudis left the Eagles chasing shadows, despite parading some of their best players.
Speaking with our correspondent on the telephone on Wednesday, Chukwu blamed the players for not casting aside stage fright.
'It was their first match under coach Lars Lagerback and everyone wanted to impress,' the former Eagles manager said.
'It was Lagerback's first time with them. It was their first game. It's not easy.'
The former Kenya manager, who slammed the team's preparations for the World Cup, backed Lagerback to form a solid team for the tournament.
He said,' It's too early to criticise Lagerback and his squad. The World Cup is not kicking off today and he still has time to work on the squad.
'Again, we should allow him select his players because it's his job to do so.
'We should not put him under pressure to include a particular player in his final 23 squad for the World Cup.
'The problem of the team has to do with late preparation. We started four years ago and derailed as usual.
'Our preparation for the tournament is nothing to write home about and the situation calls for concern.'
Chukwu urged Lagerback to plot strategies for victories in Nigeria's group game against Greece and South Korea, saying focussing on the June 12 Group B clash with the star-studded Argentinean team could prove costly.
'I'm not expecting the Eagles to beat Argentina,' the African legend said.
'If we beat Argentina and lose to Greece and South Korea we will be out of the tournament.
'I'm not worried about Argentina but other teams because they will decide our fate.'