Russia 2018: Ex-Eagles Goalie Declares Nigeria’s World Cup Opener ‘A Must-Win’; Laments Absence of Home-based Players In The Team (AUDIO)

Former Super Eagles goalkeeper Idah Peterside has said Nigeria ‘must win’ its opening game at the 2018 FIFA World Cup against Croatia to stand a realistic chance of advancing to the second round of the competition in Russia.

The three-time African champions face Croatia on 16 June before confronting debutants, Iceland (on 22 June) and two-time winners, Argentina (on 26 June) in a tough Group D of the tournament.

“You must win the first game (against Croatia). In every tournament, you win the first game,” Peterside, who was part of the Eagles from 1998 to 2001 said in an interview with Channels TV. “Once you win the first game, you can win the second game. And it’s so doable.

“You see, I’ve been in this game for too long to be worried about football. Football will humble you.

“Just get people with the right mindset,” the 43-year old added.

The former Super Eagles spokesman also expressed worry over the absence of outfield home-based players in the team but remains optimistic that the team will blend during the pre-World Cup camping.

“Unfortunately for us, we don’t have home-based players that are in the national team. That’s where you form a formula, because you can’t bring a strange player from everywhere and say you have a pattern of a team,” he said.

“It can be rectified. It would be rectified during the camping session. It is so important.

“This is why teams go for pre-season trainings. And if you don’t attend pre-season trainings, coaches don’t play you, because that is where they form the pattern to play-which is what we will do in our camp.”