Nigeria’s Mikel John Obi (C) celebrates with teammates William Ekong (L) and Odion Ighalo after scoring a goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying football match between Nigeria and Cameroon at Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, southern Nigeria, on September 1, 2017. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP
As the countdown begins ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier between the Super Eagles and Chipolopolo of Zambia, former Green Eagles winger, Adegoke Adelabu has suggested that team captain, John Obi Mikel must be ready to supply long passes from the midfield for his teammates to finish the job upfront.
The Super Eagles are currently leading the table with 10 points, while the Chipolopolo with seven points will visit Uyo on October 7. After beating Algeria back-to-back, the Zambians are burning with the desire to clinch the group B ticket and make their debut appearance at the World Cup.
To Adelabu, such desire by the Chipolopolo must be cut short in Uyo. “I watched the Zambia versus Algeria match, and as an ex-player, coach and football scientist, I foresee a situation where they (Zambia) will come to Uyo to play their usual physical football. The Eagles were a bit lucky in our last two games against the Indomitable Lions of Cameroun because the Camerounians played organized football. That is not the case with Zambia.
“Their midfielders and defenders will do everything to frustrate Victor Moses and Odion Ighalo from scoring because of their physical pattern of football. In that case, Mikel must be ready to do the job from the midfield because he is very good with his long passes. Mikel must be fit to stay longer in the game, and with one long pass, he has succeeded in dividing the Zambian team into two. Mikel should always look for a way to put the ball behind the Zambians for our attackers to sneak into their vital area and score. We need the three points so that our journey to Algeria will be a mere formality,” Adelabu stated.