Abuja - Super Eagles’ Psychologist, Dr. Robinson Okosun, on Thursday said the team was mentally prepared for the clash against the Walya Antelopes of Ethiopia on October 13 in Addis Ababa.
The match is the first in the two-match 2014 FIFA World Cup Final Round Play-off.
Okosun told NAN in Abuja that his greatest joy as the psychologist of the team was the fact that all the players were ready for the match and in high spirits.
"My most important job is to ensure that the boys are focused, by reducing every distraction to the barest minimum. And, as it is now, there is serenity in the camp and everything is alright.
"All the ingredients necessary for the players to do well is what we try to impart to them and I am happy they have been co-operating so far, which makes my job easier,’’ he said.
The psychologist said he was also happy all the invited players were on ground and injury-free.
"It becomes worrisome if the coaches had penciled down players for the game and one or two of them are injured. It really affects team strategy,’’ Okosun said.
He said however that working on the players’ psyche was a continuous process, adding that the game against Ethiopia in Addis Ababa was not just against the host players.
"It is against the home crowd as well.
"However, they (the players) have been to more violent and difficult terrains than Ethiopia and are aware of how crucial this match is to Nigeria,’’ the psychologist said.
He went on to explain the team’s decision to travel a day before the match and return immediately after the game.
"It was due to the Ethiopian high altitude which is expected to be unfavourable to the players.
"We are adhering strictly to our programme in the sense that Ethiopia has a high altitude and that is why we have decided to be there on Saturday and depart on Sunday.
"If not for that, we would have chosen to travel about four days before the match. But because of the altitude, we will be travelling on Saturday.
"We have also conditioned the minds of the players to the situation, that we will get there and play and leave immediately, before the altitude problem sets in,’’ Okosun said.
He assured Nigerians that the mindset of the team was to go for an outright win in Addis Ababa.
"These players possess very high technical qualities and playing against Ethiopia is not a big deal to them. All they need to do now is to condition their minds and remain focused.
"This team, since winning the 2013 African Nations Cup (AFCON) in South Africa has improved, compared to the games we played before then.
"So, we will keep working hard to ensure that we get it right,’’ the Super Eagles psychologist said.
Tthe Eagles will host the qualifier’s return leg in Calabar on November 16.