FEATURE ARTICLE

Cyril C. NwokejiSunday, June 29, 2014
cyril.nwokeji@wol.be
Belgium

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NIGERIA VERSUS FRANCE: HOLD VALBUENA, HOLD FRANCE!

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n Monday the 30th of June, our dear Super Eagles, will confront the "Les blues" of France for a place in the quarter-finals of the World cup competition. The Super Eagles have a really good chance of making history, by being the first set of Super Eagles, to advance to the quarters. Mee thinks this is possible. While not underrating the French , one believes a well motivated Super Eagles, ready to correct the noticed lapses in earlier matches and with a bit of good luck ,can rattle the French by kicking them out of the World cup competition.

How can this objective be realised concretely ?

A closer look at "Les Bleues ," reveals that the team is built around the' petit ,' dimunitive, highly skillfull and highly resourceful ,tireless , Olympic Marseille mid-fielder, that goes by the name of : Valbuena ! He is the motor engine of the French team ; comparable to Zinedine Zidane of the World cup - and European cup winning French team of 1998 and 2000. He is tireless and is every where on the field of play. The French also have classy players like : Benzema, Pogba, Konsciensny, Sagna Cabaye and so on. But the touch of the 'petit' Valbuena, is something else. He brings a certain 'aura ' to the French team, so much so that when he plays all the above mentioned stars and the other players of the French team shine like a thousand stars ; and when he doesn't play or performs poorly, the French team flounders. In other words, he is the ' catalyst ' of the French team ! This is the strength as well as the weakness of the French team; which the Super Eagles, should exploit, to their advantage !

How can Valbuena be stopped ?

One wouldn't advocate a man-marking of Valbuena, by a particular player, that could be dangerous, as by so doing, the "police man " player could run the risk of collecting a yellow or red card ; also over concentration on Valbuena, would ' free' the other French players, to make hay. However, Valbuena, could be contained, through some intelligent " zonal defensive " organisation ! This means concretely that whenever Valbuena gets the ball, the nearest Nigerian player(s), should immediately shut out the space available to him ; so as to prevent him from functioning effectively. If Valbuena, is effectively checked, the French team would struggle and that would make it easier for the Nigerians to make hay.

The French with a 'checked ' Valbuena are very vulnerable : they have a very suspect central defence ; though they have a good goalkeeper, but a relatively weak defensive line would expose the goalkeeper badly ; they no doubt have good attackers, but if the supply line from Valbuena is disrupted, they would struggle badly, which would reduce their efficiency ! Nonetheless,the Super Eagles, should keep a close eye on the French attackers, more especially Benzema.

Which players would best do the job for Nigeria ?

One expects, a 4-3-3 formation of the Super Eagles. This would entail the maximum use of wingers - the lynch pin of the Super Eagles attack.

One expects : Vincent Enyeama in goal ; Efe Ambrose ; Juwon Oshaniwa ; Skipper Joseph Yobo and Kenneth Omeruo, making up the defence line.

The three man mid-field should consist of : John Obi Mikel, one hopes he ups his game ; Ogenyi Onazi and Osaze Odenwingie.

The offensive weelde should consist of : Ahmed Musa, Emmanuel Emenike and Victor Moses.

The players should work for one another, in a team-like fashion. There should be no individualism, but collectivity ! Victor Moses should please take note ! And above all, Nigerians should continue to support and pray for the Super Eagles.

I have this gut feeling the Super Eagles would get to the quarter-finals. These Super Eagles, are apparently 'destined ' for great things - " Iseeeeeeehhhhh!."

UP SUPER EAGLES, UP NIGERIA !!!!

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