Former Super Eagles defender, Rabiu Afolabi, has admitted that the team won’t have it easy against Iceland when they clash in the second group match on Friday.
The erstwhile Flying Eagles captain, however, expressed optimism on Nigeria’s qualification to the second round of the competition.
“l expect a solid team of Iceland coming out as a unit, it’s not going to be an easy game for us but with the quality of the players that we have no doubt we will come out victorious but everybody has to work for one another, the Icelanders don’t play a fancy football, they play like a warriors,” Afolabi said.
“Yes, I’m very optimistic that the team can progress to the next round and I think that the coach has learnt based on the first game against Croatia. We have good young players who are hungry for success. All that we need is to win against Iceland and Argentina to collect six points.”
Afolabi who featured at the 2002 and 2010 World Cups in Korea/Japan and South Africa said that creativity coupled with quality leadership in the defense are major challenges faced by the team.
“Creativity is really lacking especially at the last quarter of the last game against Croatia,” he said.
“Odion Ighalo is a strong and lanky striker who can keep and shield the ball from the opponents but he was lonely against the world class defenders. The Croatian defenders had a numeric advantage over him mostly. However, he needs a constant support and runs from those whoever play along with him up front.
“Quality of leadership and communication are missing at our defense, there’s not enough of talking between the goalkeeper and the defenders.”
The Ex-Monaco of France star spoke further about the tie against Croatia.
“I think the Eagles played a decent match because the first game of every competition is always tricky.
“I don’t like to criticise the tactics of the coach because sitting on the fence is not easy but I think that the formation 4-2-3-1 was good but some players were used at a wrong position.
“For example players like Mikel Obi. I don’t see Mikel as an offensive midfielder, he has a natural defensive attitude but he’s not a creative player who can pull out a magic at the final third of the opponent.
“He is a midfield organiser because of his vision and passes ability. We were very feeble defensively at the dead ball situations that we conceded two goals horribly through set pieces and a rigorous concentration is needed in that aspect.”