Mutiu Adepoju wants Nigerian fans to get behind the Super Eagles rather than constantly complaining about the team’s struggles in recent time, especially now that the clash against Liberia looms large.
Nigeria failed to make the last Nations Cup in Gabon/Equatorial Guinea and have again left qualifying for the 2013 edition in South Africa until the very final round, leaving long suffering fans somewhat noncommittal these days.
But Mutiu, a former Eagles midfielder insists that matches are tougher to win now as there are no more pushovers on the continent.
“We need to learn to support and encourage the team always; that is what they need. We keep referring to them as strugglers, which is wrong. I don’t think they are strugglers,” Mutiu told BusinessDay on the eve of his departure for a refresher course in Spain.
“The truth is that every team also wants to qualify for Afcon just like Nigeria, so they won’t just roll over and die. Don’t also forget that every team wants to beat Nigeria.”
If the man famously known as the Headmaster does not think the present Eagles players are run of the mill, they obviously don’t measure up to his (Mutiu’s) generation.
“Look we should stop comparing teams across generations, it is not a very wise thing to do. Football has changed, evolved over the years and we have to keep looking forward. Yes! We can sometimes look back, but the focus should always be on the future,” Mutiu counseled.
“My era had its dynamics and they are different from what obtains now. The earlier we came to terms with that the better, as it will help remove the pressure on the current players.”
The former 3SC General Manager is however sure of one thing and that is the outcome of Saturday’s match against the Lone Star in Calabar.
“I think we will beat Liberia. The players themselves know what is at stake, they don’t need to be reminded and that is a plus in itself.”
Mutiu who has a UEFA Pro 3 license and recently left his post at 3SC, is headed for Europe for a revalidation course. “I would take a decision on my next course of action when I return from Europe after the programme,” he said.