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Ex-Spain Coach Clemente: Now Mikel Wants Sportsmanship From Croatia; Nigeria Rested Players In ’98

Ex-Spain Coach Clemente: Now Mikel Wants Sportsmanship From Croatia; Nigeria Rested Players In ’98

By James Agberebi:
Former Spain national team coach Javier Clemente has laughed off calls by Super Eagles skipper Mikel Obi asking Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic to play his regulars against Iceland on their final Group D game of the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup on Tuesday.

Following Croatia’s qualification into the round of 16 with a game to spare, there are reports that Dalic could rest some of his key players like Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic.

And reacting to the report, Obi called on Dalic to show sportsmanship and field his best players against Iceland, believing the outcome of the game could have an effect in the game between Nigeria and Argentina which will also be played on Tuesday.

Iceland could qualify ahead of Nigeria and Argentina if the debutants beat Croatia by a wide margin and the Super Eagles and Argentina draw.

Zenith Ziva

But Clemente who was Spain head coach at the 1998 World Cup in France when they crashed in the group stage, was having none of Mikel’s call for sportsmanship.

At the 1998 World Cup, Spain who lost 3-2 to the Super Eagles in their opening group game, needed the Eagles to avoid defeat against Paraguay while Clemente’s team had to beat Bulgaria to progress into the round of 16.

Having already qualified for the round of 16 following wins against Spain and Bulgaria, Super Eagles key players like Austin Okocha, Victor Ikpeba, Okechukwu Uche, Celestine Babayaro and Mutiu Adepoju were all rested against Paraguay.

Paraguay went on to beat the Eagles 3-1 and progressed while despite thrashing Bulgaria 6-1, Clemente’s Spain crashed out.

Recalling the events that unfolded at the 1998 World Cup, Clemente tweeted on Sunday: “Obi Mikel of Nigeria asks Croatia for sportsmanship and wants them to plays with the regulars.

“Nigeria in ’98 played with their substitutes against Paraguay and lost, Spain crashed out. That day it seemed sportsmanship was not important.”

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  • Lucky Ukhun 3 years ago

    Wetin concern this ex-spanish coach with our match sef? He better mind his DENGO business. Still licking his wounds! Loser!

  • Ayoola 3 years ago

    Oh Yeah. So It Pains u a lot. Weather Dalic rest his players or not, Nigeria Will qualify. Our destiny is in our hands not in the hands of Croats

    • Sunday 3 years ago

      Thanks Ayoola for that comment. Eagles should go to the peach with I most play well.

  • This old man is full of bitterness after 20 years. I pray he does not die of peptic ulcer for his ‘badbelle’ No be him fault sa, na Mikel I blame. Mikel and SE should face Argentina’s game with full concentration because our destiny is still firmly in our hand. Argentina is beatable if we do the right thing. Beat Argentina and you won’t need to turn yourselves to beggars. Croats’ coach is free to do whatever he likes with his team, as long as he does not fix the match and if he does it might backfire against them if we beat Argies and they come second by losing with a wide margin.

  • Omo9ja 3 years ago

    Why Mikel should have said that? It seems like he believed that his team can not win Argentina? Your team have 3 points and Argentina have 1 point, why worries? This must important thing is that Nigeria must beat Argentina period. If Mikel us scared of Messi and is team, coach shouldn’t essitate to bench and try Joel Obi or any of the midfielders. This the returns of Atlanta 1996 against Argentina.

    If you are afraid of Argentina let me remind you Mikel what Argentina have done to your Country.

    Argentina and Messi stopped you and Nigeria from been Crowned the under 20 in Holland years back and The same Argentina that stopping Nigeria from being Olympic Soccer champions in beijing 2005. Come on Mikel, these are the criterias you have to look into.

    However, instead of paying attention to unnecessary stuff, can’t you have a meeting with your coach and the entire team and explain what the Argentine team have done to Nigeria teams in the past and what should be done against Argentina this time around? Enough of this Mikel because, its embarrassing.

    Your team needs you more than anything this time around. You need to be bold enough at this stage, that is why Kind Kanu decided to be with the team.

    I’m pretty sure that he will give you guys the total support because he has been there before you. Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Segun Odegbami, Mr. Fani Amu, Mr. Onigbinde the former world cup coach and co are there with you guys. Full house, no shaking Mikel. We are praying for the team.

    We all believed in God, in one goal, in one mission. In sha Allah, it is well. God bless us all, God bless Nigeria!!

  • We don’t have to relay on another tean to work for us. All that we need, is to play the game strong and strong against Argentina and win the match.

    • abdulghani adebayo 3 years ago

      You’ve said it all, That’s sportsmanship to me.

  • Omo9ja 3 years ago

    So sorry for my errors. Please “CSN” “edit button” is needed on this website. We appreciate you a lot “CSN”. God bless Nigeria!!!

    • Lucky ukhun 3 years ago

      Omo9ja, I have been wondering too why CS website doesn’t have an edit or delete button.

      • Because it is not a forum. The reply we do is from comment in Wordpress. If they use discus we can get edit where everyone has to sign up.

  • The Argentine team decimated by croats are beatable after all, with due respect. I believe they are also cautious about Nigeria team too. The strong department in Argentina team is attack. If our solid defence work tirelessly and get right, Argentina is beatable.

  • abdulghani adebayo 3 years ago

    Yes I agree with you coach. There’s nothing un-sportsmanship in a team resting players. You just need to focus on your own team. Wish Nigeria all the best.

  • Onyeagoro Johnson Chima 3 years ago

    To defeat Argentina is not difficult as Argentina team is in a state of decline. The Eagles should not panic as they are in Russia to play the best. Unfortunately,  Argentina is not the best on the field of play but on paper. What the Eagles should do is to pack the midfield and don’t allow the ball to get to Messi which Croatia and Iceland did and Messi got frustrated. The Eagles defenders should not give away penalty in the vital areas. A defender in the vital areas does not win the ball but clear it out of the vital areas. The Eagles should not allow the Argentine too much space to operate on. Messi is predictable when on the ball. He moves looking for whom to pass it to. Once the ball is blocked from getting to Messi, Argentina will go home on Tuesday. And finally, the Super Eagles should be aware of VAR… Eagles should always protest to the ref before the VAR could be used in their favour.

  • Sunday 3 years ago

    What i,m scare off is penalty that does not make sense eagles should avoid it.. try not to hold anyone at the penalty spot or clear the ball away as quickly.

  • Mr. Rohr Why Not Using Joel Obi In That Bryan Idowu Department, It Would Help Our Attack And Defends Than Idowu And Then Sub In Ebuehi In The Second Half.

  • OLUSEGUN Olofin 3 years ago

    I feel the pain of Clemente . In all honesty Nigeria should have won Paraguay for Spain to qualify for the next round in France 98. Mikel ought not to have said what he said . At this stage it’s each team for itself . The team must defeat Argentina. I heard they wanna use Angel Fire Maria . Well what I see of the matter is that his presence creates the need for him to run in a free space and score . So this means the tram neess to fortify it’s defence seriously . Argentina will use tricks such as Aggression, insulting players and falling fairly all in wanting to win matches . It’s God’s grace that we truly need to win this match . Because we are not just facing Argentinean alone , but also FIFA. Remember we made them lose their money through the beta they made against us losing to Iceland . I also hope that the boys would leave their pride and work together as a team to win this match . Mikel neess to up his game and act as a leader , igalo should stop being stingy just because he wants to score . When his chance come , no problem take it but when it comes to the greater good of ensuring that the team wins , he needs to let his pride go down and push his team to win even if it means he passed to Ahmed Musa or Kel Iheanachos or Etebo to give us the winning goal . Victor Moses should stop falling all the time . Now is the time for him to B crazy on the pitch and move in to deliver as well as pass the ball to ensure the victory. He should stop displaying skills . We all know he can dribble . What we want to know is this can he help the team to win when it matters. Coach Right, I hope he uses his wisdom to make the right choices, the right strategy and the right tactics to make this guy’s know that winning is paramount. Super Eagles do not need Croatia to help them win this opportunity. They needed to prove that they can really win the game and move to the next phase . Argentina is looking at the fact that it’s their last bus stop even Messi knows this is his . So Super Eagles, win for us .God be with u .

  • No matter the circumstance, I think the worst iikely result in match between Croatia and Iceland would be a draw. My fear is for Nigeria not to lose to Argentina.

  • I think that if the Spanish Coach had appealed to Nigeria in the 1998 WC, Nigeria might have considered his appeal.

  • Go Eagles, Go 3 years ago

    I have said it severally that this crops of Super Eagles talks too much. What is their problems? Mikel, Ighalo, Etebo, Balogun, Ndidi & all have been talking. Talk less and do your talking on the field. Let the coach talk and even at that it should be on the officially mandatory press conference. Talking unnecessarily draws an unwanted attention to yourself. Go out there and fight my friend instead of wimping. Be strong and bold. The Argentines ate quaking already. They are staring at first round exit and are confused. The worse you can play is a draw which means we depend on Croatia drawing or beating Iceland but GI for a win outrightly. Go Eagles Go.

  • obilor osondu 3 years ago

    mikel, pls, leave dat spanish ex coach alone, let him advise Croatia to use their feeder team to d advantage of Iceland. Talk to ur team mates to concetrate and avoid needless tackles in d box. Argentina cannot win. Messi knows dt ds time around, its over for them. Bt at d end, Nigeria conquers. one Nigeria