Every possible preparation will be put in place to ensure that Nigeria overcome any challenge that arises in her bid to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, says the President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Mr Amaju Pinnick.
Pinnick warned that the duo of Cape Verde and Liberia pose real challenges that cannot be handled tamely if the three-time African champions want to retain any hope of appearing at the Mundial in two years.
The Super Eagles sit in a comfortable looking World Cup qualifying Group D alongside Central African Republic, Liberia, and Cape Verde. None of these countries has ever made it to the finals while Nigeria is aiming for her seventh appearance at the global event.
Despite Nigeria’s rich pedigree on the continent, Pinnick is worried that Cape Verde and Liberia have the wherewithal to cause the country a lot of problems.
A few years ago, Cape Verde were ranked among the top countries in Africa, while Liberia have a President who was once crowned the best player in the world.
“There are no more minnows in football across the world. A few years ago, Cape Verde were the number one (African team) on the log in FIFA ranking for a very long time, ” said Pinnick in a chat with The Punch.
“We know what they (Cape Verde) do; they get players of Portuguese origin. Therefore, we don’t want to be deceived.
“We are playing against Liberia who’s got a president (George Weah) who has played the game before and can decide to channel all his country’s resources into the qualifiers with the aim of qualifying them for the World Cup.”
Pinnick insists that to get the better of these foes, Nigeria must prepare as though she were facing England and Brazil.
“We will prepare as if we are playing Cameroon, England, and Brazil. I will not allow us get carried away. We will not settle for less than going to the World Cup. We would not get carried away.
“This is a World Cup qualifier. Like I said, any single mistake could be very costly. Even though the group looks cheap, it might end up being a very difficult one,” Pinnick added.