President of the Nigerian Football Federation, NFF, Amaju Pinnick, has said that the availability of Oghenekaro Etebo and John Mikel Obi for the Super Eagles will ensure Argentina’s captain, Lionel Messi is caged in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
According to Pinnick, the prospects of the Super Eagles coming out in their Group D against Argentina and Croatia have been brightened with the dazzling performances of Etebo against star-studded Barcelona in the La Liga recently when Las Palmas held the Cataonian side to a one all draw.
Etebo who shone brilliantly against the Messi-led Barca has received rave reviews after checkmating Messi in their dogfight that saw struggling Las Palmas get a home draw against the League leaders.
Drawing strength from Etebo who moved to La Liga from the relatively lower-ranked Portuguese league, NFF President, Pinnick predicted that the presence of a Nigerian midfield to be manned by Etebo and skipper, Mikel Obi would cause upset for the widely tipped teams in Russia.
He said, “It’s heart-warming to see Etebo play so well and rated so highly by commentators. I watched the game and was impressed.
“It shows that our decision to move him to La Liga is paying off. Honestly, with Etebo, Mikel and others, Nigeria will be a hard nut to crack.
”Our plan is to get the Nigerian players to be playing regularly. That’s the reason and today Etebo is happy and we are proud of him.
“All our players are doing well and we are in close touch with them. I spoke with Etebo and he said his best is yet to come. He came face-to-face with Messi and frustrated him.
“That is a plus to us and Messi won’t be strange to him when they meet again at the World Cup.”