Etebo Unfazed by Own Goal, Focuses on Iceland Game

By Duro Ikhazuagbe in Kaliningrad


Oghenekaro Etebo whose own goal earned Croatia the opening goal of the 2-0 defeat of the Super Eagles on Saturday night in Kaliningrad, Russia, has put the game behind him.  He is now focused on getting a good result in Nigeria’s next World Cup 2018 Group D game against Iceland on Friday.

The former Fereinse of Spain midfielder who this summer switched to Stoke City in the English Championship, wants fans to maintain their faith in the team as any team could stutter at the beginning and recover strongly to finish up well.

He harped on the spirit of quick recovery while noting that the game of football is full of surprises. 

Etebo who spoke in Kaliningrad late Saturday said: “I don’t know what to say. I’m really short of words (concerning the own goal) but it is a game of football. So the best thing to do is to hold our heads up and work towards the next game. This is the way it usually goes with football. We have lost this one (against Croatia) and the best way out is to forget about the painful experience and move on strongly.”

Etebo said Eagles would do a thorough review of their errors and work hard to correcting them. The player who was rated highly with his performance against Croatia by Eagles gaffer, Gernot Rohr, specifically touched on the team’s reaction to set pieces.

“Apart from this game and some of the friendlies many of the goals we have conceded were from set pieces and now I believe we really need to take it so importantly (ability to defend set pieces very well). This is very important for us; this is important for the team and that is what we need now starting with the next game,” said the former Warri Wolves player.

The new Stoke man then pleaded with Nigerians and fans of the Eagles across the world to also put aside the result of the first game, and like the team, focus on their next match which will largely underline how far they could go in the 2018 World Cup.

 “Like I said earlier,  this is a game of football; we lost but it’s still bright out there. It’s just for us to keep our heads up and stay very focused for the next game and work on what we have to do to qualify. That’s the way to go.”

Team Captain John Mikel Obi; Chelsea wing back, Victor Moses, and Leon Balogun are some of the Super Eagles players who have underlined the team’s determination to qualify for the knock out stage.