Sports Ikpeba confident Super Eagles will get to the semifinal of the World Cup

Former Nigerian player Victor Ikpeba has backed the Super Eagles to make the semifinals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Ikpeba was part of the Nigerian team that played at the 1994 and 1998 World Cup tournaments, and he believes that the current Super Eagles team have the youthfulness to make a good impression at the World Cup.

"Some of the key players like Joseph Yobo and Osaze Odemwingie have been there before but the rest are new on the stage. I think the youthfulness in the team will help their performances" Ikpeba was quoted as saying on The Punch.

“They are the African champions; not many people gave them the chance to win the Nations Cup last year but they did it. Nigeria can spring surprises when they’re underrated.”

Ikpeba acknowledged that the team had a blip in their preparations for the World Cup,adding that the team should not be judged on that premise.

“We should forget about what happened in the friendly matches (against Scotland, Greece and USA); they’re not significant. They’re important, but not significant. Of course, we would prefer they win World Cup matches instead of friendly games,” he said.

“Our strikers were able to create chances during the friendly games but it was scoring that became the problem. I believe if the players settle well in a game, scoring will not be a problem.

“At the Africa Cup of Nations last year, they didn’t struggle to score because the confidence was there and the goals came naturally. The coach will need to work on the strikers to boost their confidence in front of goal.

“I think (Emmanuel) Emenike will score, also Victor Moses. It’s difficult to predict how many goals they will score but I’m confident they’ll perform well.

“We shouldn’t be carried away with the belief that we can win the World Cup; we should be careful about our remarks. But I think this team can go as far as the quarterfinals or the semi-finals. They have what it takes.”