By Izuchukwu Okosi and James Agberebi:
Yaisa Shofoluwe, who played for the Flying Eagles at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 1983, is confident the present squad can break the Brazil jinx and beat the South Americans at that level for the first time.
Nigeria have never scored against Brazil at U-20 level, but Shofoluwe, who had a successful senior career, this current group will change that and go ahead to win the tournament.
"It's possible that this current crop of players can win the World Cup but it depends on the way they start,” Shofoluwe told completesportsnigeria.com.
“They've been together for a long time and they know each other, so I think for a team to succeed, they need such chemistry. So I am optimistic about their chances.”
Speaking specifically about the team's chances of beating Brazil when both sides meet on June 1, Shofoluwe said: "I like the fact that they are playing against Brazil in their first match because I believe it will boost their morale and also make them prepare very well and play their hearts out. And I am confident in Manu Garba because he was in our team in 1983, so he knows what it means to play against Brazil at this level.”
Shofoluwe then recounts the game against Brazil in the 1983 World Cup in Mexico. Nigeria lost that first clash against the South Americans 3-0.
"In our game against Brazil in 1983, we had a little problem in the attack and the coaches were arguing about who to start before they settled for Dahiru Sadi. They decided to go for him believing that he could play the role very well. But unfortunately he had never played there before because he was an attacking midfielder, a good one at that. But when the game started, he couldn't cope in the position and the Brazilians capitalised on that.
"They scored a free-kick, followed by the second and third goals. The first half finished 3-0 but in the second half the game changed, we had chances but couldn't convert them. I think the coaches’ argument on who to play in the attack affected the players. Then in our third game against Holland who had Marco Van Basten, we played a 0-0 draw.”