World Cup: Optimism as Eagles know playoff foes today


Some football stakeholders in Nigeria have expressed optimism as the draw for the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers play-offs holds today.

The draw will take place in Douala, Cameroon.

The Super Eagles will know its World Cup playoff foe when the draws take place.

There are still 10 teams in contention following the second round of the 2022 World Cup qualification.

The 10 qualified teams will be divided into two levels based on the official FIFA ranking, published in November 2021.

The five highest-ranked teams will play against the five least ranked teams with the first leg to be played at the home of the lower-ranked teams.

This means Nigeria could face strong oppositions like Egypt, Cameroon, Ghana, Mali and DR Congo to book a place in Qatar.

Despite the stern test ahead, the stakeholders told Saturday PUNCH that the Eagles current form at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon had given hope and optimism that the team are ready to face any oppositions they get when the draws are made today.

Former Super Falcons head coach, Ismaila Mabo, said, “I am highly impressed with the Eagles because we’ve not only won but we are also playing very well and this cause for every Nigerians to be happy because their performance is building our confidence.

“I am confident these Eagles are ready to face any opposition given and they will qualify for the World Cup when the draw is made.”

Former England player of Nigerian descent, John Fashanu added, “The Eagles are flying at the moment and their spirit is so high right now.

“How can we not be optimistic when we have won three games in a row? The boys are looking great and ready to face any opponents right now. The Eguavoen boys are moving like a train and no one can stop that train.”

Etim Esin added that with the balance in the team, the Eagles are ready to face any team handed to them.

“Getting nine points from your group, topping a group means the confidence is high. The boys are not struggling and there is balance in the team. The Eagles can face any opposition at the moment and I don’t think qualifying for the World Cup will be a problem.

However, 1985 U-17 World Cup hero, Nduka Ugbade, challenged the Eagles to be ready to face strong opponents to become the best.

He said, “If you are not ready to play at the highest level at every time then you are not ready for success.

“My concern is that Nigeria should win the AFCON first and when they meet any other team they will be able to compete at the highest level and fight for the World Cup slot.” (Punch)

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