Nigeria: Iwobi, Dessers Want Nigerians to Put Wold Cup Failure Behind

Duro Ikhazuagbe

Nigeria and Everton forward, Alex Iwobi, has urged Nigerians to put behind them Super Eagles failure to qualify for this year’s World Cup in Qatar and face the future with optimism.

Iwobi who played a key role in Everton averting drop from the English topflight league this season, agreed failing to qualify for Qatar 2022 was a heartbreak but Nigerians must move on.

Speaking at Super Eagles training in Abuja yesterday ahead of Thursday’s AFCON 2023 qualifier against Sierra Leone, he stressed that the three-time African champions were just unlucky to miss the ticket.

“I think we were unlucky because you can’t fault the effort of the boys (in the two-leg playoffs with Ghana). “It was a heart break that we missed the ticket but life must go on. We have to move on,” stressed Iwobi, who missed out on the World Cup playoffs against Ghana due to his suspension at the 2021 AFCON in Cameroon.

With the rebuilding of the team under new Portuguese coach, Jose Peseiro, the Everton star believes Super Eagles are on track to regaining their place in global football.

“We played very well in the friendlies against Mexico and Ecuador (in USA), created chances, but we didn’t get the results,” he recalled.

“We’re now looking forward to the AFCON qualifiers beginning with Sierra Leone.

“I believe we will get it right at our home against Sierra Leone (who snatched a dramatic 4-4 draw in Benin City last year in a 2021 AFCON qualifier).”

Also speaking on the AFCON 2023 clash with Sierra Leone to be played behind closed doors at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja, Genk forward, Cyriel Dessers, 27, said playing without fans should not stop Eagles with winning.

“We have to perform, do the business even behind closed doors,” observed Dessers who was top scorer of this season’s UEFA Europa Conference League while on loan at Dutch-side, Feyenoord.

This will be Dessers first home game for Nigeria since he opted to play for the Super Eagles ahead of Belgium two years ago.

“It would have been great with the fans at the stadium, but that will not possible for this game.”

While promising to score goals for Eagles, he insisted he has no regrets opting to play for Nigeria rather than Belgium.

“I hope to score more goals and do everything for the team.

“I have no regrets I chose to play for Nigeria even though I was overlooked after my debut two years ago,” concludes Dessers who Feyenoord fans were ready to launch appeal fund to pay his €4million transfer fee to keep him in the Dutch team.


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