By Femi Solaja
Super Eagles strongman, Kenneth Omeruo, has assured Nigerian football fans that the priceless World Cup trophy is within the reach of the team should Nigeria starts the campaign against Croatia on a positive note.
TheÂ Kasimpasa FC of Turkey defender spoke to THISDAY yesterday in Lagos at the final of aÂ grassroots football matchÂ between Turf Season FC and Current FC sponsored by Domino’s PizzaÂ at the Yaba College of Technology Sports Centre.
Omeruo assured Nigerian football fans that Super Eagles have come of age and can be counted among real contenders.
According to him, “everywhere you go, people talk about Messi, Modric, Aguero and Rakitic but nobody is talking of the components that made the present crops of Super Eagles players the first team from Africa to pick group ticket to Russia 2018 World Cup. â€œI think it is a huge advantage for us to be underrated but we are a determined side to give our best at the World Cup. Nigeria will hug global limelight after the qualifying group stage matches and all through to the last phase of the tournament in Russia,” Omeruo assured supporters of the Super Eagles.
In his pre-tournament assessment, the Chelsea FC player on loan in Turkey agreed that the most important match for the Super Eagles remains the opening tie against Croatia rather than the focus been placed on Argentina.
“The moment we get the results in our first two matches with Croatia and Iceland, we will be going into the final group match against Argentina with lots of confidence and perhaps repeat the last result we secured against them in the friendly late last year in Russia.
“You will recall that we had already qualify for the World Cup at the time we faced them in that friendly in Russia and was not under any pressure. The moment we pick maximum points in the opening two games, this will spur us to greater heights,â€ observed the AFCON 2013 winner.
He maintained that the brilliant performance of the Super Eagles in their debut tournament at USA â€™94 has ensured that no nation can afford to regard Nigeria as mere participant with no ambition to win the World Cup.
” I want to say that other generations of Super Eagles have continued to look up to the solid foundation laid by the 1994 generation which has taken us away from been mere participant but real contender for the trophy,” he noted.
The defender, who hopes to return to England next season from Turkey commended the technical crew for the harmony that has existed in the team in the last few years.
“There is no rivalry in the team rather all the invited players hope to give the technical crew heavy task in the final selection of 23-man team to the World Cup. There is nothing like battle here, everybody is thinking of the best for the team,” he concluded.
Omeruo was part of Stephen Keshiâ€™s team to the last World Cup finals in Brazil where he paired Joseph Yobo in the heart of the defence.