Fifa's Jack Warner believes Nigeria is the team to beat in the U17 World Cup
Fifa vice-president Jack Warner has tipped Nigeria to finish in the last four at the ongoing Fifa Under-17 World Cup.
Hosts and defending champions, the Golden Eaglets, may have made a laboured start to their campaign but have now retained their pre-tournament favourites tag after finishing top in their group.
And Warner believes the vastly improved Nigerian side that will face New Zealand in the round of sixteen on Thursday is good for a semi-final berth.
"I've been to Nigeria several times - more than I should - but if this country do not reach the last four I will think seriously if I should come back here again," the 66-year-old told journalists on Monday.
"This team play better outside Abuja and the team I saw against Argentina is an extremely top class, world class team worthy of any performance at anytime.
"Sincerely, I don't see how any team could defeat Nigeria at home because when you are at home you have the 'twelfth man' in the fans.
"They are fully confident and I am more optimistic that they shall reach the last four."
As the winner of three Under-17 World Cups in 1985, 1993 and 2007, Nigeria was highly tipped to win their fourth title on home soil.
I don't see how any team could defeat Nigeria at home because when you are at home you have the 'twelfth man' in the fans.
Fifa Vice President Jack Warner
But Nigerian football is facing a terrible crisis as the Super Falcons, Flying Eagles and Super Eagles performances in recent months have irked passionate fans in the West African country.
The dissatisfaction has seen them boo the Super Eagles and now the Golden Eaglets in recent matches to show their anger and resentments towards the national teams.
But president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Sani Lulu Abdulahi has pleaded for support and understanding.
"We understand the situation and urge the fans to please be patient with our national teams, I know our situation is very tough." Lulu told BBC Sport.
"But we should keep supporting our teams and believe they can turn things around just like the Golden Eaglets have proven.
"Anything can happen in football and this attitude is what we should take with the Super Eagles and the Golden Eaglets since they represent our beloved country."
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