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Fans optimistic of Eagles’ victory over Ethiopians

15 November 2013, 09:52

Abuja - Football fans on Thursday expressed optimism that the Super Eagles will triumph over their Ethiopian counterparts in Saturday’s second leg of the 2014 FIFA World Cup play off  in Calabar.

Some of them told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the Ethiopians threw away their chance of qualification by losing the first leg.

Assistant coach of Aleyita FC, Jacob Oyekale, said the Ethiopians were only coming to Nigeria for ``damage control``.

``Ethiopia have no chance against the Super Eagles of Nigeria. The Super Eagles are still the defending champions of the African nations Cup which makes them the best team in Africa, although FIFA ranking says otherwise.

``The Super Eagles have a great chance; the first leg has put them in very good stead to qualify for the World Cup, they have 2-1 victory which is really a very good result.

``Ethiopia are only coming to Nigeria for damage control, they should just control the number of goals they will concede against the Super Eagles,`` he said.

NAN reports that the Super Eagles will be hosting the Ethiopians in a must-win Brazil 2014 World Cup play off at the U.J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar on Nov. 16.

The Nigerian side carry a 2-1 advantage from the first leg played in Addis Ababa on Oct. 13.

Oyekale, however, advised the Super Eagles’ technical crew to work hard on the team’s midfield.

``The lapses in the Super Eagles are in the midfield; looking at it again, it was the naivety of the Ethiopians and their inexperience that cost them the match (first leg) because they actually dominated the midfield.

``Unfortunately, Nosa Igiebor who came in the first leg to mend things in the midfield will be absent.

``But by and large, I believe the Eagles’ handlers must have really watched the match over and over again (to) see their mistakes and try to correct them.

``They should not underrate the Ethiopians, because they play compact football, free flowing football especially in the midfield.

``They like to put the ball on the ground, which could be difficult for the Eagles if they don’t play aggressive football against them in the midfield.

``If we look at the first leg, we played two-men in the midfield against five Ethiopians in the midfield, so they had a lot of possession,`` he stated.

Coach Erasmus Onuh, former coach of Abubakar Bukola Saraki (ABS) Football Club, also said the Super Eagles had a brighter chance of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

``Their chances are very bright. I know they (Ethiopians) are going to pose a challenge but I think victory belongs to the Super Eagles.

``I am always an optimistic person. I never underrate anybody when it comes to soccer.

``But the Ethiopians lost their chance when the two countries played in their own country (Ethiopia); so the chances (of the Eagles) are very bright," Onuh said.

Toyo Gini, a retired Nigerian FIFA referee, said Nigerians were not expecting anything less from the Super Eagles than victory which they would give.

``We do not expect anything less from the Super Eagle being African champions than victory because Nigerians are full of expectations, looking forward to seeing Nigeria in the World Cup.

``We know very well that all along, the Super Eagles have not disappointed but playing at home on our home soil gives us more advantage.

``If they can go to Addis Ababa and beat them, I don’t see any reason why the Ethiopians won’t be flogged here.

``But, the only advise I want to give the technical crew is for them to fortify the defense more  and make their striking force much stronger than it was in the first leg,`` Gini said.



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