Former internationals, Garba Lawal and Tijani Babangida have tipped the Super Eagles of Nigeria to win Group C of Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifying series.
At the draws held on Wednesday in Cairo, the 40 teams remaining in the race on the African continent were drawn into 10 groups of four teams each and the eventual winners of the groups will qualify for the final phase of the qualifiers.
The six-time finalists (the Super Eagles), who made their World Cup debut in 1994 in the USA were drawn in the same group with Cape Verde, Central Africa Republic and Liberia. Considering their pedigree, many football pundits have since described their group as a favourable one.
Reacting to the draws, Lawal, a member of the Super Eagles squad to France 1998 World Cup and Korea/Japan 2002 said there are no more minnows in world football so the Eagles must not take any of their group opponents for granted.
He said “I am confident the Super Eagles will pick the group ticket to move to the final phase but I am not writing off any of the teams in the group.
“We don’t have minnows in world football again. Anyone who knows how fast football is developing on the continent of Africa won’t make the mistake of undermining any team.”
“We all saw what Cape Verde did recently in the Africa Cup of Nations. Is that a team to be underrated,” he asked rhetorically.
Speaking in the same vein, Babangida who represented Nigeria in the 1998 World Cup in France said the Super Eagles will pick the group ticket but they must be ready to labour for it.
“With due respect to our opponents, Nigeria will surely qualify from this group. There is no easy team in modern football but Nigeria now have a young team.
“This qualifier will prepare the boys for the final stage. We couldn’t have wished for a group better than what we got. I am very optimistic,” he said.