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NFF: Eagles defence not up to standard

20 November 2013, 09:39

Abuja - Mike Umeh, the first vice-chairman of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), on Tuesday said the Super Eagles’ defence needed to be fortified ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Umeh’s call followed Nigeria’s 2-2 draw with Italy in an international friendly played at the Craven Cottage stadium in Fulham, London on Monday night.

He said the Super Eagles’ defenceline must be worked on if Nigeria must do well at the FIFA World Cup scheduled for Brazil between June 12 and July 13, 2014.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria had on Saturday qualified for Brazil 2014 after a 4-1 aggregate defeat of Ethiopia in the African final round playoffs.

``We still need to inject more players into the team, because our defence is not too good. It needs to be worked on,’’ the former Eagles’ team manager said.

The NFA first vice-chairman, however, commended the team for its brilliant performance against the Italians, and said the team’s preparation for the 2014 World Cup was on course.

``The team played to expectations against Italy, in spite of the logistic problems they had before the match.

``I can’t remember the Super Eagles losing any match in recent times, except at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil. The worst we have got is a draw. So, we are working on the boys.

``We have started in the right direction. We were able to play the Italians less than two days after our match against Ethiopia.

``The more the team plays friendly matches, the more it will discover which department needs to be worked on.

``If we don’t get friendlies like this, we will not pinpoint the areas we need to work on.

``So, we have started in a good way by playing a high-profile friendly match and, of course, more will come in preparation for the World Cup,’’ Umeh said.

He said Nigerian football had been witnessing a transformation in view of the laurels won by the national teams.

``We don’t need to blow our trumpet. The results are there for us. But I can tell you that if nobody praises us, we will praise ourselves.

``No board has achieved what we have achieved within our tenure in office.

``We have won the African Cup of Nations after 19 years, won the FIFA U-17 World Cup and secured a FIFA World Cup ticket without the setting up of a Presidential Task Force.

``We did not spend billions of Naira to get the ticket and the female teams are also doing very well at the junior and senior levels,’’ Umeh added.

He also said the NFF would continue to place emphasis on grassroots talent hunt in order to improve the country’s football development.


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