ADEFEMI RELISHING BATTLE FOR SHIRT
By Semiu Osho
March 23, 2010 12:23AM
France's Sydney Govou (9) challenges Olubayo Adefemi of Nigeria during their friendly match at the Geoffroy Guichard Sta-dium in Saint-Etienne. Photo: REUTERS
Nigeria defender Olubayo Adefemi is anticipating a tough battle for a place in the World Cup team under the new Super Eagles coach, Lars Lagerback.
The Boulogne of France defender was surprisingly left out of the national team squad that finished third at the African Nations Cup in Angola in January by former technical head, Shuaibu Amodu but Adefemi is now looking forward to being recalled by the new Eagles boss, Lars Lagerback in the race to make the team to South Africa.
After featuring for his country at both the FIFA U-20 World Cup and Beijing Olympics in 2005 and 2008 respectively, the former Rapid Bucharesti of Romania ace is relishing the prospect of featuring for the senior team at the Mundial.
'I think every player wants to be there because it is the biggest in football and now we have a new manager, so I believe it is going to be a new challenge for the players. It is my desire to be part of it but I know I will need to work hard like every other player who is looking to be in the World Cup squad,' Adefemi said.
The Eagles are grouped alongside Argentina, Greece and Korea Republic and the defender is confident Lagerback can bring his experience to prepare the team to make a strong impression in the competition.
'We have a tough challenge looking at our group and we have a short time to prepare. But it is the game of football and we can always believe we have a chance to go through. But it depends on how well we prepare and I hope we can get it right,' he said.
'He would need the support of everybody to do well. He has the experience coaching at that level and since he has been given the job after considering a couple of experienced coaches, I believe he has got something good to offer to the team.' Adefemi has missed a couple of Ligue 1 matches for his French club, Boulogne after serving his card suspension but the defender is confident he would win back his place in the team. 'It happens sometimes and you just have to show you get back to be at your best.'