Sports minister, Barrister Solomon Dalung has parried worries over the Super Eagles’ recent chain of defeats, as he insists the team, will spring surprises at the World Cup in Russia.
Rather than be cowed by a 2-1 oloss to England last Saturday and 1-0 slump to Czech Republic on Wednesday, Dalubng said he expects the Nigerian squad to play a joker by shocking everyone at the Mundial.
Dalung dismissed the fears with a wave of the hand, saying the Eagles played with strategic plans in those friendlies, and it would be unjust to judge their performance at the World Cup with the preparatory games.
The minister went on to warn Nigeria’s Russia 2018 World Cup opponents, saying they will only have themselves to blame if they rate the Eagles on the basis of their recent friendly matches.
He enthused: “Sometimes you will be disappointed that you’ve not seen the best, but the joker is still there. Once they pull the joker, they will spring the surprise.
“From the performances of the Super Eagles, I appreciate the concerns of Nigerians. The last two matches seem not to meet the test of our passion, but I think the matches were played with lot of strategic plans.
“The ultimate performance is (at) the World Cup; if in the course of playing friendlies we incapacitate our great potential, then the essence of going to the World Cup is defeated. I think our team played the friendlies with a lot of caution.
“They just behaved like true Nigerians. When Nigerians go to competitions or war it’s akin to shuffling of cards; they will always remove the joker and put it under their thighs and keep shuffling the cards and you’ll think you’ve seen the best from them.
“That was what happened during the competition for the (2018 World Cup) ticket, nobody thought that we were even going to win a single match but we shuffled the cards, removed the joker and left everybody in suspense. When we pulled the joker,”