Clemens Westerhof has told SCORENigeria the Super Eagles should aim for at least four points against the Indomitable Lions to qualify for next year’s World Cup, while also warning against recalling Vincent Enyeama to the team.
Dutchman Westerhof was the most successful foreign coach to lead Nigeria after he guided them to win the 1994 AFCON and also qualified them for their debut at the World Cup same year.
And although the Super Eagles sit top of their 2018 World Cup qualifying group going into the double-header fixture against Cameroon, Westerhof has told Scorenigeria.com.ng the Eagles must have to prepare for the game of their lives.
“Nigeria playing against Cameroon in a World Cup qualifier at home? Then, they (Nigeria) must have to win,” he told SCORENigeria
“At home you must have to win and at away, ensure that you get a draw. With that, you the Super Eagles are straight to the World Cup.”
He added: “Cameroon have a good coach, he is from Belgium, I know him very well. He is a no-nonsense man. He brought something significantly new to Cameroon football.
“He displayed the guts to call off the bluff of Cameroonian big players who have had so much money.
“He dropped them and then took young and new players to the Nations Cup.
“He made a good team out of the young players and did well enough to win the Nations Cup and became African champions.
“I think, it will be a tough match against the Super Eagles.
“If you ask me, frankly, it will go either way, a win or a draw, I must say”.
The ‘Dutch-gerian’ also played down concerns on the apparent decline in quality players in the Nigerian national team compared to his regime.
“It cannot be like that all the time”, he pointed out.
“The coach must have to prepare well with what he has.
“Nigeria have potential players, it’s the coach who can make them play the way he wants to get result by (beating Cameroon).
“Cameroon is not a piece of cake, you know. So you must work hard, the players must have to be ready for the work”.
With Super Eagles captain Mikel Obi and a handful of senior national team players now plying their trade in the less competitive Chinese Super League, CSL, Westerhof took exceptions to the huge financial benefits the players reap therefrom.
“Financially, it’s okay for them but footballing sense, no, the challenge to get better is not there,” he argued.
With Carl Ikeme out of the break or bend double-header clash against Cameroon following Leukemia diagnosis, there have been suggestions for Vincent Enyeama be recalled from a self-imposed international retirement.
Westerhof expressed strong reservations to such a move.
“No, no, no! Whoever has retired from the national team should not be called back,” he warned passionately.
“Instead, you must have to go with the players you have, who are ready to play.
“Then you give them confidence.”
By Sab Osuji