Super Eagles still have problem - Akpoborie
Ex-international, Jonathan Akpoborie, is not losing sleep over next month's all-important 2014 World Cup qualifying match between Nigeria and Malawi at the U.J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar.
The former Wolfsburg of Germany all-action forward is confident that the Super Eagles would edge the Flames of Malawi for the sole Group F ticket to the next round of the race to Brazil next year.
However, Akpoborie is not persuaded by the 2-0 victory by the Nigerian team over the Bafana Bafana of South Africa in their recent Mandela Challenge encounter, insisting that coach Stephen Keshi needs to work on the team's tactics, especially when defending, Nigeria must withstand tougher teams that it would likely face, after the Malawi Flames, on the road to Brazil.
'I'm not surprised that the Super Eagles subdued the Bafana Bafana in the Mandela Challenge match. We all know that Nigeria and South Africa are not on the same pedestal terms of talents' he said.
He went on: 'We still have a tactical problem especially when defending, regardless of the opposition. We tend to go forward a lot when we attack, particularly, whenever Victor Moses is playing. It's usually worse when we play against a fast opposition. The problem has been there since Keshi took over as head coach of the Super Eagles and I'm still waiting to see an improvement.
'However, I don't see Malawi as a threat to Nigeria in the World Cup qualifying race. But we need to work on our defensive tactics before we meet tougher opponents.
Akpoborie believes that the Super Eagles squad as presently constituted does not represent the best talents the nation could boast of in the round leather game.
'We need to play our best players at all times, whether are home or foreign-based. I don't care if the player is playing in Ireland or in a fourth division league. Once a player has Nigerian blood flowing in his vein, irrespective of where he was born or the country where he plies his trade such player should be given equal opportunity with others to play for the country.
'The national team is not a boys club - it doesn't belong to Keshi or any individual for that matter. We have so many talents in Nigeria. I know a defender in Enyimba that is good for the national team. I wouldn't want to mention the player's name but I've watched him several times and I wonder why he is not in the national team. Is it because he plays for Enyimba?
'I've watched virtually all the clubs in the Nigeria Premier League in the current season except Kano Pillars and I've seen a lot of players that ought to be invited to the national team, particularly, the team preparing for the forth coming Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) in South Africa next year.