Atlanta ’96 gold medallist Garba Lawal says Nigerians have yet to see the best of the Chelsea duo of Mikel Obi and Victor Moses.
The former international, who hailed the winning performances of the players at the South Africa 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, believes they could explode to a higher standing at future competitions.
Lawal, a versatile player in his heyday, urged the Eagles to take every match of their Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifiers seriously, saying bagging a ticket to play at the championship could present Mikel and Moses as well as other players who distinguished themselves in South Africa an opportunity to showcase their talents.
“Mikel and Moses were outstanding at the Africa Cup of Nations and deserve credit for their contribution to Nigeria’s victory at the tournament,” the former Holland-based players, who represented the country at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups, told our correspondent on the telephone during the week.
“Stephen Keshi and the players should be commended for helping the country win the competition for the third time.
“However, we should be patient with the coach and avoid putting the players under pressure.
“Players like Mikel and Moses are world-class, who should be respected in their country as they are respected abroad.
“If we encourage them, they’ll give their best to the country. We should not dictate to the coach on how to use them in the team.”
Lawal, who featured for the Eagles at four Africa Cup of Nations finals winning silver and bronze thrice, praised Keshi’s decision to give more players a chance to play in the team.
However, he warned the team not to get carried away by the Nations Cup triumph, urging them to work on their weak points to enable them to qualify for the World Cup.
“The players should work very hard,” the well-travelled retired player said.
“By winning matches, they will continue to enjoy the support of Nigerians, and attract the attention of big European clubs.”