FEATURE ARTICLE

Cyril C. NwokejiTuesday, August 20, 2013
cyril.nwokeji@wol.be
Belgium

ANNOUNCE THIS ARTICLE
TO YOUR FRIENDS

SUPER EAGLES OF NIGERIA:
IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE SOUTH-AFRICAN FRIENDLY

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he South-African friendly, has come and gone and our dear Super Eagles, shone brilliantly, diminishing the South-Africans, right before their own fans, with a 2-0 defeat, and winning the Nelson Mandela challenge cup, to the bargain. No doubt, it was a very good general repetition, for the 7th September confrontation, against the Flames of Malawi, in Calabar. Notwithstanding our victory, some salient points about that match, need to be taken note of :

1) THE GOALKEEPER(S) :

Austin Ejide, no doubt profiled himself, as a goalkeeper, to be reckoned with. He has shown that he is more than a good deputy, to Vincent Enyeama. One would suggest, he be given a competitive international assignment, soonest; preferably, in our game against the Flames of Malawi. I would also appeal to coach Keshi, to recall goalkeeper Dele Aiyenugba. He deserves another chance, after two years in the international wilderness, no thanks to his not-too-impressive showing against the Guineans, in October, 2012, in Abuja, in a Nations' cup qualifier. Dele Aiyenugba's inclusion in the fray, would bring about more competition, for the three goalkeeping slots available in the Super Eagles team; thus further raising the goalkeeping standards

2) THE DEFENDERS :

This department, no doubt, is getting better in the Super Eagles; but can still be improved upon. Godfrey Oboabona, no doubt has profiled himself to a defender to be reckoned with, in the new - look Super Eagles. His transfer to Turkey, couldn't have come at a better time. One wishes him all the best in his new adventure.

Azubuike Egwueke, his central defensive partner, no doubt did well in the match; but methinks, his soccer interest, would be better served with a transfer to a European clubside soonest.

Elderson Echiejile did well and one wishes him lots of luck, in his search for a new clubside, with the nearing- of- the- end of his soccer adventurism, with Braga F.C. of Portugal.

The other member of the full-back tandem, Efe Ambrose, did well; but still exhihibited his well- known weakness - overlapping and giving up space at the back. He needs to up his game, in order to guarantee his first team place in the Super Eagles.

One would however, call for the invitation of Onyekachi Apam, to the Super Eagles. He has in the recent past, been plagued by injuries. An in-form and injury-free Onyekachi Apam, would add experience and tactical awareness to the Super Eagles ' central defensive line. For all the talent and motivation of the current first choice central defenders: Kenneth Omeruo and Godfrey Oboabona, they are still lacking in experience. Onyekachi Apam's inclusion, would not only increase competition, in the heart of the Super Eagles' defence, but would bring more experience, to this vital area of our defence.

3) THE MID-FIELDERS :

They did well in the match. Ogenyi Onazi, further profiled himself, to be our engine room, in mid-field.

John Ogu, did well; and rattled the South-African goalkeeper, with "bullet '' shots, and narrowly missed being on the score cards.

Sunday Mba, was very average, and urgently needs a transfer to a European clubside soonest, to continue his development. He is no doubt a highly talented player, but presently in the 'wrong ' place, qua soccer develpoment.

I would also call for the recalling of Joel Obi. He is no doubt a player with class and experience. Also, Nosa Igiebor, should be recalled ; he exhibited a hope-giving performance, against Real Madrid, a few days ago. No doubt, he must have shaken off the rustiness, he exhibited at the Nations' cup tournament, at the beginning of the year. An in-form Joel Obi / Nosa igiebor, Mikel Obi and Ogenyi Onazi, are presently, in my considerd opinion, the best mid-field trio of African soccer !

4) THE ATTACKERS :

They did well, particularly in the second half. Obinna Nsofor, was very average in his come back match for the Super Eagles, after nearly two years, in the international wilderness. He needs to up his game, if he wants to be a member of the Super Eagles party to a tournament.

Shola Ameobi, was very average also; but meethinks Shola's problem, is more of not - yet -used to the pattern of play of the Super Eagles than a loss of form.

Nnamdi Oduamadi, was als average; meethinks, however, that Nnamdi, is more of a player for the future than one of the present for the Super Eagles.

5) THE SUBSTITUTES:

Victor Moses, was excellent, in his substitutes' role; helping to bring about the first goal .

Uche Nwofor, put up a man -of -the match performance, for the period he was on the pitch. He showed good predatory instincts, in scoring both goals for Nigeria; however, it's early to Judge him, based on one excellent match. Uche Nwofor, will no doubt get more opportunities to prove himself in the coming weeks, for the Super Eagles.

Ahmed Musa, was good, and helped bring about the second goal. The other substitutes were ok.

However, I would like to call on coach Keshi, to recall Chinedu Ogbuke Obasi. Presently, he is not having it easy at his clubside Schalke. But I believe Obasi, is talented enough to be a member of the new-look Super Eagles; the kind of player Keshi, wants: skilfull, polyvalent, two footed and with very good ball vision.

He belongs to a very select group of players to have represented Nigeria at all men's FIFA soccer tournaments: Under -17; Under -20 and the Senior World cup.

6) THE TECHNICAL CREW :

The technical crew, were excellent, in the way they handled the match. They read the game well; and their second -half substitutions, were spot-on changes, that made the difference !

In conclusion, one can dare say that the Super Eagles' dress rehersal in South-Africa was a very successful one and are ready - albeit some tactical readjustments - to extinguish the Flames of Malawi in Calabar, come September 7. One must also hasten to add that the year, 2013, has so far been a SUPER year for our Super Eagles ; what with victories : at the Catalonia challenge; the Nations' cup, in South -Africa and now the Mandela challenge. Let's hope that good fortune, will give us the last and ultimate victory, in 2013 - the qualification for the World cup in Brazil, 2014. Then it would have been a quadruple of victories in 2013, and our Super Eagles, would be really super, and gradually nearing world class. UP SUPER EAGLES, UP NIGERIA .

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