FIFA Beach Soccer W/Cup: Nigeria Captain Olawale Targets Quarter-finals

FIFA Beach Soccer W/Cup: Nigeria Captain Olawale Targets Quarter-finals


Super Sand Eagles captain, Isiaka Olawale is targeting a quarter-final place at the forthcoming 2017 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup scheduled to hold from  27 April to 7 May 2017 in Bahamas, reports

Olawale, 33 will be making his fourth appearance at the championship since making his debut at the tournament at the 2007 edition of the event in Brazil.

The former Giwa FC midfielder who may also be making his final appearance in the competition told in an interview says they won't be underestimating their group opponents.

"All the teams we will be facing are very, very good teams," Olawale said. 

"However, and I say that with the utmost of respect to our opponents, we don't have to overestimate anybody.

"We will take each match as it comes. But we will try our very best. We have to be at our best if we want to make it through to the next round. We have faced some of the teams before and we know that any team that has qualified for the World Cup deserves to be there."

The Super Sand Eagles will begins their campaign against Italy at the National Beach Soccer Arena in Nassau on the 27th of April before batting Mexico and Iran on the 29th and 1st of May respectively.

Olawale also revealed how he lured the older players to the squad to help clinch the qualification ticket for the World Cup in Bahamas.

The Super Sand Eagles had failed to qualify for the two previous editions of competition but the return of Abu Azeez, Ogbonnaya Okemmiri, Victor Tale, Godwin Ayalogu helped the former Champions finish second at the 2016 Africa Beach Soccer Cup of Nations in Nigeria.

"Qualifying for the finals was not easy," Olawale continued.

"We have not made it for the last two tournaments and being beaten in the semi-finals by Senegal in the Seychelles and missing out on qualifying for the finals in Portugal was very painful. In 2013, we were also beaten by Senegal in the last four. So we were very determined.

"For the qualifying tournament this time around, we recalled some of the older players. As captain of the team, I spoke to the players and told them this is a great opportunity. The African championships were in our country, so we had a lot of advantages."

The El Kanemi Warriors midfielder also explained why he gave up on his dreams of featuring for the Super Eagles.

"When Berti Vogts was coach, he called me up and I played a few games for Nigeria," Olawale said.

"I have not given up playing for them again, but I have to be realistic. There are many good Nigerian midfielders and it will not be easy for me to get into the side.