3rd June, 2010
Dropped Super Eagles and Boulogne FC of France defender, Adefemi Olubayo in this online interview with ADEBOBOLA ALAWODE, said the Super Eagles should not fear Argentina atÂ the South Africa 2010 World Cup, which kicks off in eight days time.
Q: Are you following the preparation of the Super Eagles?
A: Yes Iâ€™m following the squad.
Q: How will you rate their preparation so far?
A: Iâ€™m following their preparations on the pages of newspapers so I wouldnâ€™t want to say much about their preparations because Iâ€™m not an insider, It is only somebody that is with the team that can comment on how far they are doing.
Q: How did you feel when you were dropped by Coach Lars Largerback?
A:Â I felt very bad, but that is football, every footballer wants to be at the World Cup but we all canâ€™t be there at the same time. Some of us had to be dropped. There is always another time and another challenge.
Q: But donâ€™t you think you deserve a place in the team?
A: That is what you feel about my being dropped from the World Cup party, but I donâ€™t think Iâ€™m in a position to answer that question. I would rather say that the coaches are in a better position to answer that question.
Q: What is your take on the backline of the Super Eagles that would be on parade in South Africa when the Mundial kicks off on 11 June?
A: To be frank with you, the backline is a very matured one. TheyÂ are tested and trusted players so I donâ€™t haveÂ anything against them.
Q: Some soccer-loving Nigerians have also said that they donâ€™t have confidence in the backline because the players are old?
A: You canâ€™t single out a department and criticise them because football is a team sport. When you are attacking you have to go, also when it is time to defend everybody must be up and doing. On the age of the defenders, are you telling me that Joseph Yobo, Elderson Elchiejile, Taiye Taiwo are too old?
Q: Observers have posited that the defenders are not flexible due to their old age?
A: Why are the fans criticisingÂ them? Are they saying that Rio Ferdinand and Jamie Carragher are also old legs? Are Carlos Puyol and Fabio Cannavaro also old for Spain and Italy respectively? I donâ€™t want to suscribe to the fact that the defenders that would be used by Lars Lagerback in South Africa are old and not flexible.
Q: What is your general assessment of the team?
A: I think they are improving as the day pass by and the journey is still far, so itâ€™s early toÂ start making much comment about what to expect at the Mundial.
Q: Do you think Lagerback can achieve the semi-final target set by the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF?
A: Well, it is one game afterÂ the other and Iâ€™m only thinking about the teamâ€™s first group match against Argentina. After that, we can now start talking about subsequent matches.
Q: Any headache about the Argentines?
A: For me no, it is not that they are not a good side but we should not be thinking so much about them at the expense of the other two teams, Greece and South Korea.
Q: Even with the Likes of Barcelonaâ€™s Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez of Manchester City and Diego Milito of Inter Milan, whose double won the 2010 UEFA Champions League for his club?
A: I donâ€™t think so, were the trio not there when they got beaten by Bolivia. These players cannot do it all alone. They would need other members of the team to add bite to the teamâ€™s formation.
Q: Are you saying Nigeria can defeat them?
A: We have all it takes to beat them. I have played against the Argentines on two occassions, but in this case,Â it is at the World stage and it would be decided within 90 minutes. Anyway the countdown is on
Q: What formation do you think would be best for the team to adopt?
A: That is left for the coaches to decide. The coaches would know the best approach to each match.
Q: Do you think an African country can win the 2010 Mundial?
A: Yes, but Iâ€™m tipping an African team to play in the semi final.