World Cup and Afcon Nigeria's priority - Garba Lawal on Super Eagles' improved Fifa ranking

The ex-international said the country's national side must avoid the distractions of their latest position and focus on qualifying for major tournies
Garba Lawal has urged the Nigeria national team to make qualifications to the 2018 Fifa World Cup and 2019 African Cup of Nations their priorities.

On Thursday, the Super Eagles continued their rise in the global football rankings as they moved to 40th in the world, fifth in Africa despite their absence at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon.

But the former international, capped 53 times by Nigeria, insists that Gernot Rohr and his charges must avoid the distractions and focus on getting Nigeria to Russia and South Africa.

“We must not bother about the Fifa ranking but our qualification for international championships,” Lawal told Goal .

“We must look at the way we play and how we could win games. We are on the right track with the players and officials doing very well. We need to keep it going.

“Nobody expected us to win Afcon in 2013, but we came out victorious. Friendly games is not a must win as it only offer the coaches an opportunity to assess the players.

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“Knowing how they are playing and their shape. The important things before us now are the 2019 African Cup of Nations and 2018 World Cup qualifiers," he continued.

“I believe by now the coach knows the players that could offer him the result and as manager he should know his team already and the injury situations of the players and their replacements.”

Nigeria will face South Africa in a Afcon 2019 qualifying match in June before taking on Cameroon in the 2018 World Cup qualifier in August later this year.