Mutiu Adepoju: Finidi and Nigeria could spring big surprise

Super Eagles legend Adepoju discusses Nigeria's readiness for crucial World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Benin.

In an exclusive interview with SportsBoom, The Headmaster as he is fondly called, thanks to his renowned goalscoring prowess with his head during his playing days backed the three-time African champions to come out victorious despite the level of stiff opposition that lie in wait.

Once the curtain had fell on that exhilarating 2023 African Cup of Nations tournament where the Super Eagles fell short at the last hurdle, and then the dust began to settle following the finalized quest for the next man at the helm, attention has swiftly turned to the next big task: can these current crop of Eagles build on from their recent performances and land a world cup ticket? Or would Finidi be needing more than he already has at his disposal?

Mutiu Adepoju who himself was part of the Super Eagles squad at no fewer than three World Cup campaigns when queried with what he thinks about the national team's next games or how they could set up to play, was reluctant to leave out so much to the media.

"Look, I'm not going to sit here and tell you the team will approach these games this way or that way, or even what the manager's plans are. Sincerely, I do not even know of any..", the legendary midfielder said.

"But I can tell that the team will come ready. We saw how they gave a good account of themselves last time out in Ivory Coast. Not many of the faithfuls had backed them to even go as far as reaching the final, but they did just that."

Sitting third on the standings of CAF's Group C after posting two draws against Lesotho and Zimbabwe to start off their preliminary journey, the Super Eagles need to start putting maximum points on board if they will stand a chance of making the global showpiece.

First eternal rivals, South Africa come to town early next month (7th) before they travel to Abidjan three days to tackle Benin in what is expected to be a couple of make-or-break clashes.

"Talking about the route to our world cup qualification, it is a dicey thing [facing South Africa and Benin] but the Super Eagles under the tutelage of George have all it takes to pass the test.

We've been there before, taking in tricky games in a bid to qualify for major tournaments, and we've came out successful. These ones will be no different."

Mutiu Adepoju

Mutiu Adepoju

Manchester United's target Micheal Olise is good, but does the coach want him?

Coming off the back of a hugely prosperous season where he notched ten goals and six assists in the English top-flight, Crystal Palace star Micheal Olise is no doubt, a player in demand.

Surprisingly, the 22-year-old has been left out of the Euro 2024 squads by both France and England, two countries who are supposedly courting his allegiance. That move had awakened notions in the media that Nigeria who he is also eligible to turn out for could be flirting with the idea of inviting him for the latest batch of games.

Manchester United are already said to be testing the waters with a view to making an official bid for the youngster this summer, but Adepoju thinks it is a matter of whether he'd bring something different to the team for Finidi.

"I do not have the most of information on the said player, Olise, but I believe he's a good player, an exciting prospect at that.

But Nigeria has always been blessed with talents, so it's the manager's selection headache to know who he wants to invite and who doesn't get in.

Moreso, I believe this is not the first time this player is being mentioned in the media. There are a lot of talented players out there, just like I said, plying their trades in glamorous leagues. If he [Finidi] wants to court and invite any of them to the national team, he'd go for it."