Former Super Eagles defender Rabiu Afolabi says Nigeria and other African countries can only win the World Cup with a proper planning.
Only Nigeria and Algeria made it as far as the second round at Brazil 2014 World Cup, with Ghana, Ivory Coast and Cameroon crashing out at the group stage.
Afolabi, who represented Nigeria at the Korea/Japan 2002 and South Africa 2010 World Cups, where the Eagles could not advance to the knockout stages, regretted the poor development of football on the continent.
“We are very far behind. There are many aspects that connect together to bring success to a team. There must be perfection in tactical and technical disciplines, mental strength and stability,” the former Red Bull Salzburg player told our correspondent on Monday.
“Hopefully in the nearest future an African team can win the World Cup. We are not so far from it but we have a lot to learn, starting from the Confederation of African Football to various national football federations. The system must change.”
The former Monaco player added, “I think the Eagles were brave as they passed the ball around in the group stage in Brazil. Algeria also did the same.
“Every department functioned well for the Eagles except finishing. The team can grow if we keep the players together.”
The Eagles were at loggerheads with the Nigeria Football Federation over their appearance fees and other entitlements during the World Cup, a development some people believe affected the team’s performance in their bid to qualify for the quarterfinals for the first time.
But Afolabi refused to blame the players over the development, saying he had found himself in a similar situation in the past.
He said, “This issue has been in existence for a long time, I presume since the Green Eagles days and rolled on to the Super Eagles.
“It is a shame that this happens only with African teams, but obviously I didn’t see any unprofessional attitude on the part of the players in the game. They did well until the last 15 minutes when they gave up (in their 2-0 defeat by France in the second round).