WORLD CUP FINAL LIST: TENSION GRIPS EAGLES
There will be a couple of surprises in Nigeria's final 23-man squad for the World Cup, Super Eagles' top official has disclosed.
'There will be some surprises in the final squad,' said team's spokesman, Idah Peterside, who admitted that tension was running high among the players on the final selection.
On Monday, Coach Lars Lagerback will drop seven players from his 30-man provisional squad. According to Peterside, selection will be fair because a video analyst has been recording the team's training which will show the players who have been pulling their weight and those who have not.
Peterside said the players' attitudes had been very different from what they use to be under Coach Shuaibu Amodu because 'probably they are now playing under a foreign coach'. The team's spokesman also disclosed that while Chelsea's midfielder, Mikel John Obi, and OGC Nice's defender, Onyekachi Apam, both trained fully with the other members of the squad Saturday afternoon, Everton's striker, Victor Anichebe, was asked to rest after he took a knock during yesterday's training.
Meanwhile, Nigeria international goalkeeper, Austin Ejide, has admitted that nerves were jangling at the team's World Cup training camp in Essex, England, as the announcement of a final 23-man squad for South Africa 2010 approaches.
“There is tension in the team,” said Ejide at the team's Five Lakes Hotel in Essex.
“No one is sure of his place in the final squad because the competition for places has been very stiff.”
The players have been subdued; shunned phone calls and media interviews as the Judgement Day draws near.
The President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Sani Lulu, is expected to join the team on Sunday.
Lagerback has shown he is not scared to take decisions after he dropped experienced midfielder, Seyi Olofinjana, from a 30-man provisional squad he announced earlier this month.
Contrary to official declaration, Nice's defender, Onyekachi Apam, has yet to begin training with the other members of the squad as he battles to be fit after a knee problem. Sochaux' striker, Brown Ideye, has also not had enough time to train with the squad after he was delayed in Nigeria for about a week over an entry visa to the United Kingdom.
Lagerback has kept his choices “close to his chest”, revealed a source who has been close to the team since they arrived England. It is, however, expected that that there will be shock in the Swede's final selection.
“Everything is left to the coach. It's his responsibility and his decision is final and we will respect it,” declared chairman of the NFF technical committee, Taiwo Ogunjobi.