Tijani Babangida has warned the Super Eagles that they cannot afford a lapse in concentration as they seek to qualify for the World Cup Round of 16.
Gernot Rohr’s men made a false start in Russia after losing 2-0 to Croatia in Kaliningrad – and must beat Iceland and Argentina to stir their hopes of progressing.
For the debutants who forced pre-tournament favourites, Argentina to a 1-1 draw, a win over the three-time African kings would put them one leg in the knockout round.
And the 44-year-old wants the Eagles to concentrate Friday’s clash against Heimir Hallgrimsson’s side rather than think of their tie with La Albiceleste.
“I think Iceland can be even more difficult than Argentina,” Babangida told Goal.
“We made that mistake in 1998 when we played against Denmark. They knocked us out, while we were already thinking about Brazil.
“We need to be focused when we play against Argentina – when you lose concentration against Messi for only one moment, it can be fatal.”
Even in the face of an impending exit from the championship, the 1996 Olympic gold medallist feels Rohr’s lads have the wherewithal to make the last eight.
“The European and South American teams have the better organisations, but for Africa and I look at Nigeria, we have one of the youngest teams,” he continued.
“There is so much potential. I think we have a chance of surviving the group stage, but it is hard to predict after what I’ve seen.
“I think Nigeria can reach the quarterfinals of the World Cup. That is also the goal of the Federation. But they are still building, so the next round would be good as well.”
Nigeria’s game against Iceland come up on Friday at Volgograd Arena, Volgograd – a day after Croatia’s crunch tie with Argentina in Nizhny Novgorod.