‘Eagles Need a Miracle to Qualify for Russia2018’

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By Duro Ikhazuagbe with agency report
Even as Super Eagles senior players remain unfazed by Nigeria’s unfortunate pairing with Algeria, Cameroun and Zambia in the qualifying round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, ex-international, Tijjani Babangida, has insisted that the country needs a miracle to pick the lone ticket at stake.
The former Ajax Amsterdam star who was recently a special assistant to former Eagles coach, Sunday Oliseh, told AfricanFootball.com that while other teams are busy preparing hard for the 2018 World Cup qualifying series which begin in October, Nigeria is yet to have a permanent coach.
“The worse happened already after we were not seeded,” he said.
“And now with Algeria, Cameroun and Zambia in our group, only a miracle could take us out of this group, let’s be realistic even though we also know that anything is possible in football.
“Other nations are already 100 per cent ready for the qualifiers, while we are still not certain who our coach will be.”
However, Interim Eagles Head Coach, Salisu Yusuf, believes that with determination and motivation, Nigeria is capable of emerging one of Africa’s representatives at the Mundial in Russia.
“Without any doubt, this is a tough draw but with commitment, determination and motivation, the Super Eagles will scale these hurdles and qualify for the 2018 World Cup,” observed Yusuf who is likely to lead the team in the qualifiers due to the poor finances of the Nigerian federation.
Also, Assistant Captain of the Super Eagles, Ahmed Musa, also shared his coach’s sentiment.
This is a very good group. All I will say for now is that we will do our best to qualify,” quipped the CSKA Moscow forward who switched to Leicester City this summer window.
Eagles defender, Elderson Echiejile, while admitting the enormity of the task at hand for Nigeria, remains undaunted. “It is not an easy group, I must say, but we have all what it takes to finish top of that group and I believe we can. We have to start preparing Now! (put everything in proper place). It is never too early to start preparing for such matches. We are the Super Eagles,” stressed the Monaco ace defender.
Newly wedded Lazio of Italy player, Ogenyi Onazi, is not scared of Algeria or Cameroun.
“This is not a bad draw. I believe the Super Eagles are equal to the task.
“All we need to do now is to start planning from this very moment. We have to get our coach in place and give him, whether white or black, a very conducive environment to work. I am confident that by the grace of God we will qualify.”
He also pledged full commitment to ensure Eagles qualify for Russia 2018. “We will give our 100 per cent in every game and try to win whether home or away. Every match must be taken as a matter of life and death.”
 Other Super Eagles players who also echoed their views on the draw conducted in Cairo, Egypt last Friday include; Leon Balogun, Brown Ideye and William Troost Ekong.
Ideye summed up their feelings thus: “The World Cup is the biggest football stage where you meet the best of the best, so getting there will be tough. Now, we have to be prepared to work hard. If we work hard together as a team we will win matches and if we win our games we will qualify. The media have to be involved in this as well. They (media) have a huge role to play in motivating and psyching our team to do well. Everything is in our hands, we must plan well and ensure our house is in order. I believe we will qualify.”