Ebonyi Football fans have urged the Super Eagles to be wary of the best fashion rating it has received from nations as the World Cup begins in Russia.
The Eagles’ World Cup kits and travel outfit were rated the best by soccer fans, pundits and media across the globe with many saying they had won the World Cup in its fashion sense.
Major sports dailies, including the Daily Mail wrote: “First, it was the announcement of their tournament kits that sent football supporters crazy.
“Now it is their travel attire that has got everybody talking again.’’
The British news outfit, The Sun, also wrote: “Nigeria once again won the fashion stakes at this year’s World Cup with their incredible travel outfit.
“A fan posted that Nigeria is winning the 2018 World Cup fashion parade.’’
What are the fans really saying?
The fans who spoke in Abakaliki on the fashion rating, noted that with the commencement of the global fiesta could be counter-productive if not adequately managed.
Chijioke Amah, former Manager of Pa Ngele Oruta Stadium, Abakaliki, said the players should instead concentrate on correcting the flaws noticed during their friendly matches.
“It is not a problem for the team to savour the euphoria of its global fashion rating but it should realise that the main rating will be their performances on the pitch.
“The same attention which their attires attracted will also be applied to their performances on the pitch and if they fail, the same people who praised them would vilify them,’’ he said.
Chika Nwagele, Captain of Ebonyi United FC of Abakaliki, urged the players to effectively utilise their underdog status to spring surprises at the World Cup.
“The team should emulate the 1996 Atlanta Olympics winning team which lost its friendly matches but improved tremendously to win Africa’s first Olympic football-gold medal.
“The players should realise that they have attracted global attention to themselves and faltering at the competition will make people feel their prowess lies in fashion,’’ he said.
Emeka Nwonuma, a businessman urged Coach Gernot Rohr to correct all lapses noticed during the team’s friendly matches.
“The team always improved during the second half of the matches and Rohr should consider using the players who turn things around for him as starters.
“He should also work on his defence which flopped during the friendly matches to give effective cover to his first choice goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho, who did not inspire much confidence.
“The coach should also work on set-pieces because the team conceded two of the four goals against it during the friendly matches from such situations,’’ he said.
A teacher, Mrs Clara Anyanwu, urged Nigerians to pray for the team because of the huge burden of expectations on the players.
“The team apart from being the best dressed for the World Cup also drew global attention for having the youngest squad and the youngest first choice goalkeeper.
“Soccer fans should not expect much from the team but be contended with whatever performance it showcases in Russia, adding that they should support the NFF to build on it for the future,’’ he said.