Iran game key to Nigeria’s campaign, says Amodu

Former Super Eagles’ Head Coach, Amodu Shaibu, has declared that Monday’s clash with Iran at the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba will go in some way to defining Nigeria’s campaign at the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals.

   The respected tactician was in the NFF delegation that flew from Lagos to Sao Paulo on Saturday and will also be in Curitiba for today’s first game of the FIFA World Cup for the African champions.

   “In a way, the match against Iran is very, very important. Not only is it our first match, which will give a good idea of our readiness to do well in the tournament, it will also present us the opportunity to quickly pocket three points and look to add to that in our second match against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

   “I have not had chance of being very close to the team recently, but I know Keshi has been working very hard and he knows the boys very well and knows the combination that will give him victory. I am optimistic,” Amodu said as the Air Asia plane prepared to land in Campinas, outside Sao Paulo, on Saturday afternoon.

  Amodu headed the technical crew, which also included Keshi and Joe Erico, that rescued Nigeria’s flagging ship in the qualifying campaign for the 2002 FIFA World Cup finals, leading the team to win its final three matches to edge out Liberia, and also led the squad to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. But he was not allowed to take the team to either tournament.

  He advised that the Super Eagles should also exhibit cunning in Monday’s outing.

   “Many teams now know that we are an attacking team, so they wait for us to come at them, and those that have fast-paced midfielders and forwards then come at us hard on the counter, when we lose the ball.

  “I think that, sometimes, we should also lie in wait for other teams and then try to win the ball and shock them with fast runs. We have fast-paced forwards like Ahmed Musa and Victor Moses who can make this work.”

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