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Okey Isima
A former Green Eagles defender Okey Isima has advised coach Lars Lagerback to focus on strengthening the team's defence ahead of the World Cup.

Lagerback on Monday dropped 14 players from the provisional list of 44 without assessing the team's fitness in a friendly game and Isima believed the Swede took a risk with his selection.

He said, 'It is too late to criticise Lagerback. We've said so much on the team before we got to this stage and if the coach believes he is doing the right thing, we have no choice but to support him.

'My concern with the team is about the defence. We saw how the defence line cracked under pressure at the Nations Cup in Angola. We cannot afford to let that happen again in South Africa.

'Lagerback should not feature bench warmers at the tournament. If we are going down against a team like Argentina, let's go down fighting. We should not have players that will make it easy for our opponents to beat us.

'Taye Taiwo, Elderson Echiejile, Danny Shittu and Dele Adeleye are the best defenders in that team. He should think of blending these players with new ones and make the defence stronger.

'I don't think Lagerback sees himself as the coach that will win the 2010 World Cup so we should not put any pressure on him. It is too late to criticise him now. What we should do is support him.

'The time is short for preparation and he has to play safe. That explains why is taking experienced players to South Africa so we should expect to see more of the players that feature at the last Nations Cup.

'But I think he should have gone to the tournament with the home-based players. This is the only way they can get the exposure they need.'