By Kayode Ogundare:
The Super Eagles have learnt valuable lessons from their back-to-back losses in pre-World Cup friendly matches against England and Czech Republic and these will motivate them to do well when the competition kicks off in Russia, the team’s coordinator Patrick Pascal has told completesportsnigeria.com.
Speaking exclusively to CSN from the team’s training base in Bad Tatzmanndsdorf, Austria on Monday night, Pascal insists the players are in high spirits as they prepare for Monday’s trip to their base camp in Yessentuki, Russia.
“The essence of the training camp and friendly games are to perfect strategies for the World Cup and if they don’t lose games or make mistakes like these, we may falsely think that they are unbeatable. Now that we have seen the mistakes, the coaching crew is working round the clock to correct them and I can assure you that those defeats will become blessings in disguise when the competition starts. It is better to lose now when you have the chance to correct them than to win all our friendly games and lose when we get to the World Cup,” the former Nigerian international said.
Nigeria had lost 2-1 to England at Wembley on June 2 and 1-0 to the Czech Republic four days later, sparking concerns from Super Eagles fans about the team’s chances at the World Cup.
Pascal said: “The players spirits are high even though they also felt bad to lose those games but the coaches have continued to work with them and I can assure Nigerians that the team will give a good account when the chips are down. We have a young team that’s not afraid to make mistakes and learn from them. The fans will see how much the team has learnt by Saturday (when we play Croatia in the opening game).”
According to the former 3SC utility player, the Super Eagles will leave for Russia after morning training on Monday.
“As I speak to you, the players and officials are alreading packing their stuff now but we have one last training session on Monday morning. After that, we will head out to the airport by 2.30pm Austrian time for the trip to Russia. Today, the coach gave everybody the afternoon off because e have trained twice a day since we got here. Now that this phase of the training camp is ended, we cannot wait for the final phase to commence in Russia before the competition.”
Nigeria are grouped in group D with Croatia, debutants Iceland and two-time winners Argentina.