Super Eagles, Eddie Ogenyi Onazi, has praised the leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) for organizing a Grade ‘A’ friendly for the team against the Argentine national team.
Onazi, who spoke from his base in Turkey at the weekend shortly after his team’s 1-0 away loss to Yeni , a game which he featured for an hour before been replaced, said this kind of top-notch friendlies will go a long way to help the team build well ahead of the World Cup in Russia next year.
“I really want to thank the NFF for this first-class friendly they have organized; this is to show that we are really getting set for the World Cup as playing this kind of friendly will keep us in shape and make us understand the kind of opponents we might be meeting at the World Cup.
“Argentina is one of the powerhouses of world football because they possess arguably the best players on the planet currently. Even though they struggled to qualify for the World Cup, they will always be a top side any day, anytime,”Onazi said exclusively to AOIFootball.com
The 2013 AFCON winner also added that he and his teammates must approach the game with all seriousness and commitment, regardless of it just being friendly.
“Well, we will take all our games serious and it does not matter if it is a friendly or not; we need to approach the game as if we have already started the World Cup because the earlier we begin to know our likely big opponents, the better we will be on the field of play,” Onazi added.
When quizzed about the possibility of facing Lionel Messi, who is arguably the best player in the world, the former SC Lazio midfielder said it’s always an honour to face him, because playing with or against the best of player makes one improve every time.
“It will be a privilege to play against him again. Every time we meet him, we learn, so I can’t wait to face him again as one of the best in the world,” Onazi concluded.
The Super Eagles will square up against the Albiceleste of Argentina at the Krasnodar Arena in Russia, four days after their final Group B World Cup qualifier against Algeria in Blida.
While Argentina qualified for Russia on the final day of the South American qualification campaign, the Super Eagles have reached Russia with a match to spare.
Nigeria played Argentina in four of her previous five FIFA World Cup appearances, starting with a 1-2 defeat in Boston, the USA in the African team’s debut in 1994.
Argentina won another group phase clash 1-0 in Ibaraki, Japan in 2002, won a similar encounter by the same margin in Johannesburg, South Africa eight years later and then edged the Eagles 3-2 in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 2014.
Other famous encounters between both nations include two final matches of the Olympic Men’s Football Tournament – Nigeria edging the South America nation in 1996 in America and the Argies winning by the odd goal in China 12 years later.
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