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Don’t Put Too Much Pressure On Eagles – Friday Ekpo

Former international, Friday Ekpo, has called on the Nigeria Football Federation to give Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, a target as the Africa Cup of Nations kicks off on in Egypt.

Friday Ekpo: Kelechi Iheanacho should look for a place where he can play and ignore money for now.
Friday Ekpo: Kelechi Iheanacho should look for a place where he can play and ignore money for now.

The Super Eagles are taking part in the next AFCON which kicked off on Friday in Egypt, what are your expectations from the team?

As a Nigerian, I will want them to play to win but I will not want Nigerians to put too much pressure on them.

I will want them to be calm and play without any pressure.

They should be focused and play according to the instructions of the coach and also follow his game plan so that at the end of the day, they will come out on top.

We should not underestimate any of our opponents; we should play them as if it is a cup final because there are no minnows in football anymore.

The Eagles have to play every match like a cup final.

All teams coming to AFCON already gone to the drawing board to see how they can play and win against Nigeria, but our own board is already full as we have been going there each year.

But then we should not lose focus, we should play them the way it should be played.

I will also advise the coach not to play players out of their positions. He should play them where they rightly belong so that they will be able to give their best for the team.

The World Cup was nothing to remember by Nigerians; this time around, we should make them happy.

I saw what the Nigeria Football Federation has been doing in preparing the team for the AFCON, they have given them everything needed to succeed, so they should go and do their best and I pray they don’t fail in Egypt.

I will also advise the coach not to play players out of their positions. He should play them where they rightly belong so that they will be able to give their best for the team

As an individual, what will be your target for the Super Eagles?

I don’t set targets for people because I didn’t give them the job, but I want the people that gave Gernot Rohr the job to give him a target and the coach should work towards achieving it.

As for me, I want us to lift the cup, but if we fail to do that, I will still applaud the team as long as they can give it their all in Egypt.

Nigeria was once called the giant of Africa, so what happened to that giant in us? We must go back to the past by continuing with grassroots development that gave us that name in the past.

We should be having players who will graduate from the U-20s to the national team like we used to have in those days.

The coach took 23 players to Egypt, will you say they are the best in the country?

For now, they are the very best the country can produce although there are others that were not seen for years but can give the current ones a run for their money.

We need to see them and bring them out and I hope chances will be given to them. I am talking about the home-based players who were not given much opportunity to fight for places in the team.

The coach stays in Europe and it is difficult for him to see the players playing in the Nigeria Professional Football League, the concentration is more in Europe.

He was supposed to be at most league games during the season. With AFCON going on now, he should do more to monitor the home-based players when the league resumes.

We have good quality players in the league and I can see so many players taking over from those in Europe after the AFCON.

We must go back to the past by continuing with grassroots development that gave us that name in the past. We should be having players who will graduate from the U-20s to the national team like we used to have in those days

Former junior international, Kelechi Iheanacho, was dropped by the coach. Was it a good decision?

First, I will say dropping Iheanacho is to spur him to better days only if he can understand that. Money is good but it cannot buy you a place in a team.

Iheanacho is a very fantastic player, but if he really wants to play football, he should look for a team where he will be able to play week in, week out and that will return his confidence and make him a better player.

My prayer is for him to get back to his old self and return to the national team.

I want him to correct his mistakes and not take the AFCON miss as a major setback but an opportunity for him to get back to his best.

He has not been given the opportunity to play at Leicester, he should look for a place where he can play and ignore money for now because when you keep playing as a footballer, the bigger clubs will come for you.

I am begging him to look for a club where he can get regular playing time and become what we knew him for.

Anyị chọrọ ka INEC wedata ọnụ ọgụgụ otu ndọrọndọrọ ọchịchị enwere na Naịjiria

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