By Kayode Ogundare:
As the countdown to the 2018 FIFA World Cup draws near, former Super Eagles forward Victor Ikpeba has insisted that the national team should be able to reach the quarter-finals next year in Russia.
Speaking in an interview with Lagos-based ChannelsTv, the 1997 African Footballer of the Year reckons that the gap between the big teams and the smaller ones has diminished considerably and this gives Nigeria the chance to surpass its previous Round of 16 achievement.
“I think a reasonable target will be a quarter-final spot becuase we have the players to do it. Three times now we have gotten to the second round and I think we have the best chance to move further than that with this current side,” he began.
Ikpeba reckoned that the class of 1994 could have gone all the way but for naivety and insists the current side is best-placed to break the second round barrier.
He said: “Given the quality of talent we had in 1994 and maybe 1998 too, we should have achieved more than we did but we now have the chance to set that right and I believe it is not an impossible task for the Super Eagles to achieve in Russia.”
Ikpeba, a member of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics gold-winning U-23 team, also played at two AFCONs winning a bronze and gold as well as two World Cup appearances. He had 19 caps for the Super Eagles, scoring five goals.