By Johnny Edward:
Former Super Eagles midfielder Garba Lawal has fingered Nigeria’s slow start in games as a reason for their recent defeats in their pre-World Cup friendlies, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
Gernot Rohr’s men lost 1-0 to Czech Republic in their final warm-up game in Austria on Wednesday and former Roda star Lawal stated that the Super Eagles will be punished at the World Cup if they do not race out of the blocks early enough in games.
The team had earlier lost to Sebia and England in their recent pre-World Cup friendlies in London.
“At this level you can’t afford to be chasing games early and hope you will finish stronger to win,” Lawal told CSN.
“Great teams will punish you for that in tournaments.
“It’s was the same against England where they (Super Eagles) lost 2-1. After the changes at half time the team played well but they must start well from the blast of the whistle and play well and not wait to react when they are down.
“The reaction too didn’t cause enough panic to the Czech Republic team.”
He also advised that the coach, Gernot Rohr, to get his starting line-up right before their opening game against Croatia in Kaliningrad Saturday next week.
“We have less than 10 days to our first game and I think that should give him enough time to get the best eleven for that game, because it will help their chances of qualifying for the next round,” Lawal, who played in the 1998 World Cup, added.
Nigeria will kick off their sixth FIFA World Cup appearance next Saturday against Croatia before facing Iceland and Argentina in their remaining two fixtures in Group D.