Veteran French coach Claude Le Roy has backed the Super Eagles to qualify for the Qatar 2022 World Cup, Completesports.com reports.
Le Roy, 72, is the current head coach of the Hawks of Togo.
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He led the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon to the 1988 AFCON following a 1-0 win against Nigeria.
He was in charge of host Senegal who lost 2-1 to Nigeria in the opening game of the 1992 AFCON.
He then returned as Cameroon coach and led them to the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France where they crashed out in the group stage.
Speaking on the absence of several African powerhouses from Russia 2018, such as Algeria, Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire, Le Roy says he expects to see normal service resumed in 2022.
“First of all, I hope my opinion won’t be misinterpreted, because one of the favourites I’m going to mention is in the same group as us,” he told FIFA.com.
“As far as I’m concerned, I regard the two finalists from the most recent Cup of Nations, Algeria and Senegal, as front-runners. They’re very strong teams.
“After that, there are the nations who often manage to qualify, like Nigeria, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire and Morocco, who have some elite players, as well as South Africa, who will be tough opponents for the teams in their section, and even Mali, who seem capable of making the step up this time around.”
On his experience coaching in Africa which began in 1985 when he was appointed coach of Cameroon Le Roy said: “Coaching in Africa is a demanding task,” he said.
“You have to work hard and keep your feet on the ground. To succeed in this part of the world, you have to draw on your education, knowledge, culture and experience. The most important thing is to help players to develop without becoming complacent.”
And on some of assistants like Herve Renard and Kwesi Appiah, who have gone to achieve success: “Their accomplishments bring joy to my heart,” said Le Roy.
“I shared everything I know with Herve, who’s since won the Cup of Nations twice, with Kwesi, who was my assistant coach when I was in charge of Ghana, and with Sebastien. Ever since the start of my career, I’ve always tried to share my knowhow with all of my assistants. Contributing to their success has always been important to me.”
The Super Eagles are in Group C alongside Cape Verde, Central Africa Republic and Liberia.
While Le Roy’s Togo will square off against his former team Senegal, Congo and Namibia in Group H.
The Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers will kick-off in October this year.
By James Agberebi
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