Former Eagles midfielder, Waidi Akanni has said that the national team needs to improve its performance if its hope to do well at the African Cup of Nation (AFCON), which begins this month in South Africa.
Akanni told The Guardian Friday that the chances of the Eagles in South African was slim considering the disjointed performance the players put up in the friendly against Cape Verde. He noted that the team lacked cohesion, a factor, which might work against it at the Nations Cup.
He said it was evident that the team still had a long way to go and would be too much to expect it to win the AFCON trophy.
He said: “From the game against Cape Verde, it is clear that Coach Stephen Keshi’s list is not impressive and I am sure that there are a lot of young players who did not get the opportunity to vie for places.”
The former International also queried the exclusion of the likes of Obafemi Martins, Obinna Nsofor, Osaze Odemwingie and several others, who were prominent members of the team, a year ago.
“While I am not saying that Keshi should take some particular players to South Africa but it is wrong to face out prominent member of a team in one swoop because their experience will be vital at these point in time,” he added.
Akanni described the team as that of the future but expressed hope that they would do the country proud in South Africa.
He also lamented the frequent change of coaches, which has taken our football to an all time low. “I think the problem of the national team is the frequent change of coaches.
“Different coaches come with different idea and playing styles. They will also need particular players to fit into their plans, which might lead to the exit of notable names in the team. Right now, we have no playing style and it will definitely be difficult to take on the likes of Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire,” he added.
The former Flying Eagles star singled out Kenneth Omeruo for special praise and commended Mikel Obi for marshalling the midfield in the Cape Verde friendly. He also urged Musa Ahmed to lift his game while victor Moses must be thought how the African game.
Meanwhile, Nigerians will not watch the Super Eagles again until January 21 as a final warm-up game against a Dutch club will be behind closed doors.
Top officials of the team have told MTNFootball.com that today’s game against FC Rotterdam in Faro, Portugal, will be closed to the public.
“The Eagles game against Rotterdam is behind closed door so there is no way Nigerians will be able to watch the game and after that game we head to South Africa,” an official disclosed.
The Eagles have drawn both of their pre-AFCON warm-up matches, 1-1 with Catalonia and 0-0 with fellow Nations Cup finalists, Cape Verde.
The Eagles will depart Portugal on January 16 and arrive South Africa the following day.
They open their Group C campaign on January 21 against Burkina Faso while defending champions Zambia and Ethiopia are the other teams in the group.