Former Nigerian international Garba Lawal believes only collective discipline can take the Super Eagles to its expected height at this summer’s 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
Lawal, a veteran of two World Cup finals in 1998 and 2002 was known for his dedication to national team duties during his playing career. The former Roda JC midfielder agrees that the Super Eagles have a number of talented players but must be committed to excelling at the Mundial.
“We have a good set of players now but commitment is very key for the players,” began Lawal to www.aclsports.com
“As a player, you have to know the kind of person you are and the kind of player you are in the team.
“Team work, team discipline and tactical discipline is very key. Without discipline, you’re going nowhere. Everybody knows this and I believe the players should know that anyway,” posited Lawal.
A left-sided midfielder in his playing days, Lawal earned fifty-six (56) caps for the senior national team in a nine-year spell between 1997 and 2006. He is most famous for scoring Nigeria’s equaliser against Spain in the Eagles’ France 98 opener albeit through goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta.
He cautions that Nigeria have found themselves in a tricky group in Russia. “Our group is a tricky group. Croatia and Iceland are fantastic and for Argentina, if we beat Argentina today, you will see a different Argentina tomorrow.
“All the thirty-two countries are fantastic. The best teams are always at the World Cup. Croatia always produce great players and Iceland are dangerous too so we must note that,” warned Lawal.
‘Chindo’ as he was fondly called played against Argentina a number of time in the Nigerian colour including at the 2002 World Cup finals in Japan. He subtly acknowledged the difficulty in facing South American opponents and explains why Nigeria have never beaten one at the World Cup level.
“It’s a different ball game with South Americans,” he remarked.
“They are like Africans: Physique is fantastic and they have some of the best players around the whole world.
“Their physique is very tight. Maybe that’s why we struggle against them. If you watch South American games, it’s like they’re fighting each other. You watch Peru, Bolivia and you’re like; this is just one game, but they’re playing like war,” summed Lawal.
Nigeria’s first two games in Russia will be against European nations Croatia and Iceland respectively. The Eagles will face teams from that continent; Poland and Serbia on the 23rd and 27th of March as they prepare for their participation at the World Cup finals for the sixth time in their history.