Super Eagles Technical Adviser Lars Lagerback says a combination of experience and youthfulness will determine the choice of players for his final 23-man list for the World Cup.
The players will be chosen from his current 45 short listed players.
Lagerback told a news conference at the weekend in Abuja on the selection of the national team for the South Africa 2010 mundial that he was not foreclosing his mind on the choice of players.
The Sweden born coach was appointed on February 27 to take charge of the team for the event from June 11 to July 11.
Lagerback said the most important thing for him now was to have players who would not lose concentration and combine individual skills with team organisation.
“It is not impossible to have new and young players in the team, but we have to realise that experience will be a factor, especially in facing group opponents, Argentina.
“The 45-man team I have short listed is not closed for now, because there is still room for a few new ones who can still come up either from the domestic front or other sources.
Lagerback, who was at the news conference with his Swede assistant Roland Andersson, said he had, soon after taking up the appointment, concentrated on planning how to tackle his job.
“I have been doing this with Andersson, my Nigerian assistants, and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), and it has been a smooth relationship with lots of support and analysis.
“For example, we have analysed most of the competitive and friendly matches Nigeria played in 2009, and earlier this year, and I can see we have detailed planning to do.
“For now, we will want to see the players in action, even though we know a lot about them, but we need to see them and let them know our philosophy,’’ he said.
The technical adviser, who confirmed that he had yet to visit any of the Nigerian players in Europe, said he was still going to look at more players.
He declared: “We are still assessing them, especially some of the home-based players I saw against DR Congo during the March 3 friendly in Abuja.
“I will look at them again against Niger Republic in Kano (yesterday).”
Lagerback said he was not going to select his 23-man final team without considering the players just recovering from injuries.
“We are going to do this with an open mind, and I am not closing my door against those just returning from injuries. We will have two weeks to assess them in training and friendlies.
“The major thing is to have players with the winning mentality, who will do the job in South Africa effectively,’’ he added.
The Swede also said that he was not going to rule out any player from his team on the basis of where he was playing his football.
“We are going to work with an open mind. It won’t matter where the player is. We will value them as individuals and based on what they can do,’’ he said.
Nigeria, Zambia Join WAFCON Train
Nine-time Women’s Africa Cup of Nations winners, Nigeria became the final side to book their place at the 2024 tournament as qualifiers culminated this week.
The Super Falcons came from behind to beat Cape Verde 2-1 away from home, with Rasheedat Ajibade’s injury-time winner clinching a 7-1 aggregate victory on Tuesday.
Barbra Banda was among Zambia’s scorers as the Copper Queens, who finished third at last year’s Nations Cup, thrashed Angola 6-0 at home to complete a 12-0 aggregate win.
However, two-time champions Equatorial Guinea will miss out on the 12-team finals following a 2-1 defeat away against DR Congo which saw the hosts progress 3-2 overall.
Botswana beat Kenya 1-0 to secure qualification for their second consecutive finals. while Ghana, Mali, Senegal, Tanzania and Tunisia all sealed their places in Morocco, who will host for the second time in a row.
The dates for the tournament, scheduled for next year, are yet to be announced.
Holders South Africa and Algeria secured their spots on Monday, with Banyana Banyana beating Burkina Faso 3-1 on aggregate and the North Africans sealing a 1-0 win in Burundi to progress 6-1 over the two legs.
Ghana will return to the finals for the first time since 2018 despite losing 1-0 away against Namibia, with the Black Queens going through 3-2 on aggregate.
Senegal, Tanzania and Tunisia also failed to win their away ties, but progressed against Egypt, Togo and Congo respectively.
Mali won 3-0 away against Guinea to round off a 10-2 victory overall.
Olowu Targets WABU Crown At GOtv Boxing Night 30
Super welterweight boxer, Taiwo ‘Gentle Boy’ Olowu, on Wednesday , said his target is to claim the West African Boxing Union (WABU) super welterweight title at GOtv Boxing Night 30 on December 26.
The enterprising boxer, who is the national welterweight title holder, will square up to top Ghanaian boxer, Michael Ansah, at the event slated for the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos.
Speaking ahead of the fight, ‘Gentle Boy’ boasted that he would ensure the Ghanaian returned to his country empty-handed.
“I aim to add this West African Boxing Union title to my national title. As a national champion, I cannot allow a foreigner to come and take this belt away in front of my fans. This is a big opportunity for me to be a WABU champion. Ansah will leave Nigeria empty-handed,” he said.
The more experienced Ghanaian boxer has a record of 23 wins, 12 defeats, and three draws from 38 professional fights, while ‘Gentle Boy’ boasts 15 wins and one defeat from his 16 professional fights.
In another title fight, Sifon ‘Best’ Iwatt will battle Saheed Azeez for the national super flyweight title.
Also on the card for the night are five other national fights, including a female national cruiserweight challenge fight between national champion, Bolatito ‘Black Tito’ Oluwole and Blessing Abisoye.
Arabambi Ojo and Ibrahim ‘Golden Boy’ Opeyemi will slug it out in a national bantamweight challenge bout; Abdulafeez ‘Big Name’ Osoba will face Christopher Ucheji in a national super welterweight challenge fight, while Ayanfe Adeoye and Ahmed Ganiyu will duel in a national light welterweight category.
Nigeria Makes Final Team Of The Year Award
Nigeria made the final three shortlists for the 2023 Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) Women’s National Team of the Year award.
CAF announced the final three shortlist on their X handle yesterday.
The other two countries are reigning Women’s Africa Cup of Nations champions South Africa and Morocco.
Nigeria, Morocco and South Africa featured at this year’s FIFA women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
The trio all reached the round of 16 at the tournament, which was won by Spain.
The winner will be announced on Monday, December 11, in Marrakech, Morocco.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Super Falcons recently qualified for the 2024 WAFCON, hosted by Morocco.
A 7-1 aggregate win against Cape Verde ensured the Falcons will be making their 13th appearance at the tournament, which began in 1998 in Nigeria.
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