OLIHA RAPS SIASIA, EAGLES…
Ex-international, Thompson Oliha, has cautioned Coach Samson Siasia and his boys not to be carried away by Wednesday's comprehensive 4-1 drubbing of Argentina in an international friendly, predicting that the Nigerian team would meet a stiffer opposition in the Walyas of Ethiopia tomorrow in Addis Ababa.
Oliha, a member of the 1994 Super Eagles' side that featured at the FIFA World Cup for the very first time, warned that it would be wrong to expect a repeat performance of the Nigeria versus Argentina score line in Ethiopia, pointing out that the Argentine team was undergoing a rebuilding process.
'The Nigeria versus Argentina match I watched was a very good game,' Oliha told Saturday Sunsports. 'For the first time in years, I saw everything going for the Super Eagles. I pray that Siasia and his boys will continue in that manner.
'However, it's important for us to realise that the Argentine side that featured in Abuja is undergoing a rebuilding process. The country is trying to raise fresh players to gradually replace her current regulars. Although we had a very good side that routed them, we should not over celebrate the victory.
'I'm saying this because it would be wrong to see the game in Ethiopia in the light of what happened to Argentina in Abuja. In fact, the game in Addis Ababa will be tougher. The Argentine team I saw was full of rookies, probably because they thought that little was involved in the game and there wasn't much to play for other than to test new set of players.'
Oliha, however, praised the effort of Siasia and his players for breaking Argentina's dominance over Nigeria at the senior category, saying that the feat had given the Super Eagles the tonic and confidence it needed to confront the best in the world.
'Argentina defeated us 2-1 at the 1994 FIFA World Cup. The squad that played against us was a lot better than the one we saw in Abuja. However, the truth is that every Argentine team is good and, therefore, should not be underrated. What is important is that we played against them and won convincingly. Nothing can be taken away from that.
'Indeed, that victory has given our team a lot of confidence. It means that the Eagles can go out there and confront the very best in the world, including Brazil and win. Right now, the national side has handed itself a massive boost. It will henceforth, be playing with massive confidence against any team in the world.
'What the victory means is that we can beat any other team. It means that our new-look Eagles' squad is solid and that's a big edge we have. I pray that Siasia should continue in that spirit.'
Oliha prayed for more friendly games against tough oppositions around the world in order to sustain the tempo of the team's success.
Against Ethiopia tomorrow, the ex-international tasked Siasia to roll out the full arsenal that would go all out for victory in the Africa Nations Cup qualifier, noting that a ready-to-play and a solid approach to the game were all Nigeria needed to feast on the Ethiopians.
'Siasia should adopt a solid approach tomorrow to win the game. He knows his strategy and his players. Whatever he is coming up with should be solid.
'To win is simple. He should bring players who are ready to run and play. Everybody should be ready to play and win. We need victory in Ethiopia and it's not negotiable,' he concluded.