By Albert Akota
Croatian manager, Tomislav Obradovic, has predicted that Croatia will overcome Nigeria when both teams face-off in the World Cup at the Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad on June 16, 2018.
He has equally stressed that there are several players in the team with the same characteristics in the Super Eagles squad.
Obradovic was coach of the Rwandan U-20 National Team for two and a half years, and he almost qualified the country for the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Asked to compare Nigeria’s offensive players Iwobi and Chelsea’s Victor Moses, Obradovic told Sportske Novosti: “Compare all of them with their characteristics? Everyone is similar and quick, good within a group. But where are the world-class players?
“It’s probably quite enough, but as a team I do not think they have world-class quality. Why do I say that? They have too many players with the same characteristics.
“They cannot beat Croatia. Not in one segment of the game. Neither technical, tactical, nor organisational, nor in any sense.”
Tomislav Obradovic warned the Croatian team that Nigeria’s counter attack could be dangerous because they have fast players.
“The only way they can outsmart us is if they threaten us from the counterattack because they have such players, quick, fast.
“We have to hold the ball, wait and play our organised football because we are better, disciplined, stronger on the ball, better one on one,” Obradovic boasted.
However, a sports enthusiast, Stanley Osagie, has said that Eagles can excel at the 2018 FIFA World Cup with the quality of players Nigeria has all over the world
Osagie, a lawmaker in the Edo House of Assembly said in Abuja that Nigeria has the advantage of having many overseas-based players.
“The Super Eagles can shock the whole world in Russia next year. I am not scared of their opponents at all.
“The team has all the players needed to excel, because of the kind of experience they have playing abroad,’’ he said.
The APC lawmaker who represents Edo South-East said there was no need to be scared of any threat the likes of Argentina, Croatia and Iceland could pose to the Eagles.
“They are countries like us. We have what they have, and even more than what they have.
“If we play well, we will go places in Russia. I am confident about that,’’ he said.
Osagie noted that quality players abound in many parts of the country, and praised Greenbox Facilities Limited for organising a novelty match to expose hidden talents.
The Abuja-based company had on Saturday organised the match for its staff, with Team A beating Team B 4-1 after coming from a goal down.
Cephas Ishaku had in the 19th minute put Team B ahead, before Daniel Gabriel drew Team A level in the 35th minute.
Moses Ogbu put Team A in the lead in the 41st minute of the 70-minute game, and he extended the lead in the 54th minute.
Daudu Zaki put the game beyond their opponents with four minutes to go.
Osagie later described the match and its organisation as encouraging, saying it was a good show of what the youths can do.
“The players’ performance is exciting, and it is encouraging that we have such talents in the country.
“With their youthfulness, I believe they can go places,’’ he said.
The lawmaker who took the match’s ceremonial kick-off also praised the match’s organisers, Greenbox Facilities, for the initiative.
“If other private organisations can come up with this kind of initiative, Nigeria will be better for it.
“Greenbox Facilities has pointed the way forward, for us to see new talents and even help out the unemployed,’’ he said.