By; AYO OJEDOKUN, Lagos
As the Super Eagles tackle Bafana Bafana of South Africa in an AFCON 2019 qualification match in far away Johannesburg on Saturday, President-General of Nigeria Football Supporters Club (NFSC), Dr. Rafiu OLadipo, has declared the group’s backing of the Gernot Rohr tutored side to carry the day.
The Super Eagles, presently top of group E Table with nine points after four rounds of matches, had on 10th June, 2017 against all expectation fell 0-2 in Uyo to the South Africans, who now occupy the second position on the table with eight points and need outright win to seal their ticket for the finals to be hosted by Cameroon.
Dr. Oladipo, speaking exclusively with New Nigerian Sports ahead of the all important cracker which outcome could also threaten Super Eagles chances of featuring in the 2019 AFCON in Cameroon, hinged his confidence on the calibre of players in the present Super Eagles squad compared to their opponents, noting that the first leg defeat was just a flash in the pan which the 2013 African Champions look certain to avenge on Saturday.
He insisted that the absence of some key players like Mikel Obi, red hot-Odion Ighalo, Wilfred Ndidi and save hands, Francis Uzoho from the Eagles squad due to injuries will not affect the team’s performance and urged the Gernot Rohr led coaching crew to work on the Super Eagles defence so that they will be equal to the task.
He further hinted that despite the 15-man joint supporters club members of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club (NFSC) and the Super Eagles Supporters Club approved by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to accompany the Eagles to the former Pretoria enclave, the NFSC on its own has already mobilised its members in South Africa to storm the match venue in their hundreds and cheer the Eagles to victory.
“That match is a match the Super Eagles must win at least for revenge. I see the Super Eagles as a better side despite the fact that we’re going to play in South Africa. With the calibre of players we’ve in the camp I believe we can beat the Bafana Bafana, even right there on their soil. If the Bafana Bafana could come to Uyo and beat the Super Eagles 3-0, there is nothing saying we cannot also beat them 2 to 3-0.
“I do know we’re going to miss some of the players due to injuries but since the rule permits that you go with 18 players, you can substitute with any player. Maybe this is the time for those that will take their places to make their mark. And I’ll urge whoever take their place to give a very good account of himself so that we’ll reckon with them,” he said.
“The technical crew has got to work on the defence and if the defenders are up to their task, the goalkeeper will not blunder under any pressure but if the defenders don’t do their job then you expose the goalkeeper to several humiliation. So as far as I’ll concerned I’ll advice the technical crew to talk to the defence and particularly the midfield so that our goalkeeper will not be under any pressure.
“Well, I’m told that the NFF will give us 15 slots in their plane going to South Africa. This was a fallout of what happened in Uyo the last time we’re going to Tunisia. Of course the task will be too much for 15 members, so we on our part (NFSC) have spoken with our members in South Africa; you know we have a large chapter in South Africa to come out in their large number and cheer the Eagles to victory,” he added.