Jonathan Akpoborie, a former Super Eagles attacker has urged the Super Eagles’ coach, Austin Eguavoen to protect players from external distractions.
In an interview with Soccernet ahead of the clash against Ghana, Akpoborie said the coach has to prevent players from listening to just anyone ahead of a major game.
”When we played qualifiers for the France 98’ World Cup, Philippe Troussier didn’t allow us train in Lagos. He took us to Ivory Coast to cut off distractions,” he said.
He said little statements made may affect players positively or negatively and advised the coach to be in control at all times.
”To prevent too many private people from giving speeches to the boys. They make them nervous unnecessarily. In football, those are the little things.
“When somebody comes, they say they want to talk to the team. The coach should control who talks to the team. Because every word you say may be taken differently by the players. It may be that word that’ll motivate one player or demolish another player’s confidence.”
Players of the Super Eagles were promised thousands of dollars ahead of Nigeria’s round of 16 game against Tunisia at the 2021 AFCON and the result has left many Nigerians pointing fingers to the federation for allowing such distractions ahead of a major game.
“The coach should control. In Europe, the coach will never allow anyone to come and talk to the team, except him or his staff or you tell him what you want to say. During my time, most of these coaches don’t allow anyone to speak to us. Every work has been done before the game. You can talk after the game but before it, nobody is allowed,” Akpoborie said.