By James Agberebi:
Former Super Eagles midfielder, Garba Lawal, has played down Nigeria’s poor outing at the maiden edition of the Star Sixes football tournament in London which ended st the weekend, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
The Nigerian team parading for Super Eagles World Cup stars like Lawal, Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha, Okechukwu Uche, Taribo West, Peter Rufai, Celestine Babayaro, Julius Aghahowa and Yakubu Aiyegbeni won just one and lost three of their four games at the tournament six-a-side tournament for retired national team players.
They edged China 3-2 in their first group game but lost 2-1 to Italy in their second game. The team got spanked 3-0 by Brazil in their last group game but still progressed into the quarterfinals where they were hammered 8-1 by Spain.
The tournament was won by France who beat Spain 2-1 in the final last Sunday.
“It was a great experience meeting old players like Roberto Carlos, Rivaldo, (Alessandro) Del Piero, (Michel) Salgado, (Marcel) Desailly, (William) Gallas, Youri Djorkaef, Steven Girard, Olivier Dacourt and others,” Lawal told Completesportsnigeria.com on Tuesday.
“It was a tournament filled with a lot of legends and was a really good experience for everyone. And I must give kudos to the organisers for putting up such a wonderful tournament.”
Lawal however lamented injuries suffered by Okocha and Amokachi.
He added: “It was different from the normal 11-a-side because you can afford to rest but in the Star Sixes, there was no time to rest. Jay Jay Okocha was injured, Peter Rufai was injured Daniel Amokachi was also injured, Uche Okechukwu was not feeling fine and it was only 10 players in the squad.
“And if you don’t have a good bench it will affect your game because it is just three minutes.
“But the truth is we did not go there to win the tournament rather we went there to relax and have fun. It is the first time this kind of tournament was held so it was about enjoying ourselves.”