Ikpeme told Newswatch Sports in Abuja that despite the poor performance of the team at the recently concluded Toulon tournament in France as well as their not too impressive performance at the Africa Youth Championship in Algeria, the team still has the potential to spring a surprise at the World Cup.
He said: It is unfortunate that the team has been churning out very bad results which informed the concern of Nigerians.
“I understand why Nigerians do not have confidence in the team’s chances in Turkey. Yes, they did not have good results in most of their friendly matches, but that is not enough reason to write them off. I feel they will do well at the World Cup.”
Ikpeme stated further that the whole essence of the friendly match was to help identify areas in the team that needed to be beefed up ahead of the championship.
“Again, the fact that they now know that Nigerians do not have much confidence in them is enough to motivate them to give their best. They know what is at stake and they will indeed give their best at the world stage. So, I feel there is no need to panic at all,” he said.
The John Obuh-led Flying Eagles came last in their group at the invitational tournament in France. They were also not able to retain the Africa Youth Championship which they won two years ago in South Africa as they only managed to win a bronze at the tournament in Algeria.