My target is to build a formidable national team – Finidi

..Says W/ cup qualifiers' team list to be out this weekend

Super Eagles gaffer, Finidi George says that his main priority is to build a formidable national team which Nigerians will be proud of just as he expressed optimism that his players will do well against Bafana Bafana of South Africa and Benin Republic at the forthcoming World Cup 2026 qualifiers.

The Super Eagles will on June, 7 at 8pm Nigerian time take on South Africa at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers and three days later, confront Cheetahs of Benin Republic on June 10 by 5 pm Nigerian time at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

Speaking to sports writers Thursday morning at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos he noted that his target is to build a competitive senior national team that will not only qualify for the world cup but surpass the success recorded at the last Nations Cup.

” I want to tell Nigerians that my main target is to qualify the country for the next world cup and see how to win the Nations Cup and the good news is that Nigerian players are presently doing well in their various clubs all over Europe.

” Kudos must go to Ademola Lookman for his hat- trick at the finals of the Europa League which enabled his club, Atlanta win a major European title after more than six decades.
I’ve congratulated him as well as Victor Boniface and Nathan Tella and I look forward to seeing them replicate their present form in the world cup qualifiers.

Finidi who acknowledged that the South African game will be a big test for the Super Eagles considering that almost all their players ply their trade in that country’s domestic league but was optimistic that with the caliber of players at his disposal, there will be no hiding place for Bafana Bafana when they come calling on June 7.

On injecting home based players into the team, the former Ajax of Amsterdam winger explained that it will be a gradual process, promising that before the league ends, he will visit one or two match venues to watch some of these players.

” I’m aware about the clamour to invite some Nigerian players playing their trade abroad and some NPFL players to the national team.

” This to me is a noble idea but it will be a gradual process because experience has shown that some players perform very well at the club level but when it comes to the national team, they perform below expectation.

” But I want to assure you that during the FIFA window for international friendlies, some of these players will be given the opportunity to showcase their talents and I will also visit some NPFL match venues to watch some of them in order to make proper assessment of their performance”, he stressed.

On the issue of captaincy for the national team, he expressed surprise on some online media reports quoting him as having said he was going to strip Ahmed Musa and the stand- in captains; Kenneth Omeruah and William Troost- Ekong of their roles noting that captaincy of a team involves so many criteria which includes number of years one has been at the team, leadership qualities, comportment and relationship with the team handlers and players.

He posited that the issue of who becomes the skipper of the team will be decided by the coaches and players insisting that the status quo still remains as his major plan now is how to win the forthcoming games.

Finidi who says he’s in love with attacking football also took time to comment on his assistants whom he said were carefully selected, expressing hope that they’ll make a perfect team.

” I took a lot of things into consideration before picking my assistants. These are men with a lot of experience and apart from playing the game at the highest level, they’ve many years of managerial experience. They’ve all accepted to work with me because I cannot do it alone and I’m looking forward having a perfect working relationship with them.

The Super Eagles gaffer who admitted that working in the local league as coach of Enyimba and under-studying former Super Eagles coach, Jose Peseiro has exposed him to what is expected from him as coach of the national team announced that list of invited players for the world cup qualifying matches will be released this weekend.

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