By Hamidat Kewulere:
Former Nigeria star, Felix ‘Owoblow’ Owolabi, believes it will take a number of years to get the Super Eagles competing at a good level on the global stage.
He however feels the team did their best at the 2018 World Cup in Russia where they failed to progress beyond the group stage.
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“We have an average team and I was not expecting much from them in Russia because Gernot Rohr just got them together within two years,” Owolabi, who was one of the standout stars as Nigeria won their first Africa Cup of Nations title in 1980, told Complete Sports.
“Before you can get to the peak stage of The World Cup, the team must have to stay together for at least five years. It’s a global fiesta that every team must be fully prepared for. Your local league must also be efficient, going well and have a solid structure.
“Unfortunately In Nigeria, we don’t have all this things; we always believe that within a short period, when you organize and bring a few players together they must give you good results, which is not so. Everything is a gradual process.”
Owolabi, who is still one of the best left-sided players in Nigeria’s history, rued how the Super Eagles blew their big chance to make progress in Russia. A draw would have seen the team into the round of 16 but the defeat meant Argentina advanced instead.
“I think they gave Argentina team too much respect, and Argentina capitalized on that. Our players fell into their hands and that was how Messi got the first goal,” the Shooting Stars Sports Club legend added.
“We had two advantages: if we won the match we would qualify and if we drew we would still qualify, but we contrived to throw it away. Anyway, I still feel they gave a good fight.”