The coach Salisu Yusuf-led Eagles managed to get to the final of the African Nations Championship (CHAN), which ended on Sunday in Morocco, only to lose scandalously 0-4 to the hosts.
Adelabu, a member of the NFF Technical Study Group told The Guardian yesterday that including any member of the CHAN Eagles in the team to the World Cup would a risk taken too far.
“I watched virtually all their matches, and to be sincere, I doubt if the players are the best in the Nigerian Professional Football League,” Adelabu said. “I don’t see any of them making the Super Eagles team to the World Cup. It will be too risky for a serious minded coach to do.”
Adelabu, who played for the then IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan, said the CHAN Eagles fell short in various ways on technicalities of modern day football. “They were just playing, kicking the ball around without a clear purpose. Their passes were too short, and to worsen it, their tactical approaches were nothing to write home about.
“I watched their semifinal game against Sudan and at a point, I felt so disappointed with the way our boys were playing. They defeated Sudan to reach the final, but the question is how did they win? A team can build its playing pattern around one player, but in the case of the CHAN Eagles, everybody was just running around the pitch for ninety minutes. I didn’t see a particular hitman on the part of the CHAN Eagles throughout the championship. That was the main reason the Moroccans were able to fire from all cylinders against Nigeria in the final. As I said, if I am a coach taking the Super Eagles to the World Cup in Russia, I won’t waste my time thinking twice on possibility of including any of the players in the team. Maybe, their time will come much later,” Adelabu, a former manager of Eko United FC of Lagos, stated.
The heavy defeat to Morocco notwithstanding, officials of the NFF are celebrating Nigeria’s best–ever performance at the African Nations Championship with a runners–up prize money of $750,000. The team arrived Lagos unnoticed yesterday.
The team returned to Nigeria at about 3.00 a.m. aboard a Royal Air Maroc aircraft, and were received by officials of the Nigeria Football Federation, including former Nigeria international Abdulrafiu Yusuf (Assistant Director, Technical) and Mr. Sunday Okayi (Assistant Director, Competitions). The delegation was then flown to the Federal Capital, Abuja by the first flight out of Lagos.