Cyril C. NwokejiFriday, February 7, 2014




third place finish at a tournament, by any standards, is decent. No doubt Nigerians expected more from the Super Eagles, at the recently concluded CHAN tournament; more especially, after the pulsating, wonderous and tantalizing 4-3 defeat of the "Atlas Lions," of Morocco, in the quater -finals. Helaas, it was not meant to be as our perrenial rivals, the "Black Stars," of Ghana, came calling; and unexpectedly put an end to our hitherto 'destined,'march to the first ever CHAN title. Coach Stephen Keshi, was consequently 'robbed,' of the opportunity of being the first African Coach, to win the African Nations cup and the African Nations championship titles. However, not to worry, life goes on, as there would be other opportunities, for Nigeria and Coach Keshi, to win the CHAN, and other titles.

What are the consequenties of our participation at the recently concluded CHAN championship?:

  1. The need to participate at CHAN tournaments, as frequently, as possible. The importance of this fact for our soccer development, cannot be over-emphasised. The CHAN championship, apart from exposing our locally based players to big time competition, would also, expose them to better deals from foreign clubsides wanting their services; as they would be better appreciated and thus valued; as oppossed to the 'normal,' scenario, of being exposed to exploitation, by some opportunistic scouts, wanting to take them to some 'bogus,' foreign clubsides, right from their local clubsides, as unsung local footballers. This means that it is absolutely necessary to qualify for the 2016, edition. Failure to qualify, for this edition of CHAN championship, like was the case in: 2009 and 2011, would in my considerd opinion, be tanatamount to a big failure for our soccer; worse than the semi-final loss to Ghana, at the recently concluded CHAN championship.

  2. Coach Keshi, now knows which players, from the CHAN squad can be given a shot at the squad for Brazil 2014. One is particularly happy at the discovery of Kunle Odunlami; Rabiu Ali and of course the 'reborn, 'Ejike Uzoenyi, the "Most Valuable Player, MVP," of the CHAN tournament. One also appreciates the efforts of the other players, who certainly contributed to our CHAN third place finishing and of course the technical crew, for their unyielding efforts at building a solid team for Nigeria. The 'rebirth,'or rather 'renaissance,' of Ejike Uzoenyi, couldn't have come at a better time for Nigeria. The Brazil -bound Super Eagles, lack a left -footed winger cum offensive mid-fielder. This no doubt has to do with the near 'dearth'of left footed Nigerian soccer players. Nigerian soccer players are mainly right -footed, so getting a classy, left-footed winger, is not always easy. Ejike Uzoenyi, was a shadow of his usual brilliant self, at the Nations cup competition, last year. He was subsequently dropped by Coach Keshi; a failed loan spell at a Fench,First division clubside last year, didn't help matters. However, Ejike Uzoenyi, 'recoverd' to be the driving spirit/leader/best player, at the recently concluded CHAN competition for the Super Eagles; just in time for Brazil 2014. I believe an inform Ejike Uzoenyi, would make the trip to Brazil. Nigeria needs a left -footed left winger, for more efficient utilisation of the left wing. Thus Ejike's 'rebirth,'is more than wellcome!

  3. The need for our players to take their opportunities; goals win matches. Failure to score goals, regardless of a team's quality of play, would certainly not help matters.

  4. The need to avoid being too nervous, regardless of the challenge being faced. A decent measure of self confidence, can help in this regard. Self confidence, can be gotten through exposure; this underlines the need for our soccer administrators to begin early and decent preparations for our soccer teams.

On a final note, the preparations for Brazil 2014, in the words of Coach Keshi, started with the CHAN competition, one hopes that the lessons learnt, would be of utmost importance, in the prosecution of our preparations for Brazil 2014. I foresee a very successfull participation, for the Super Eagles, in Brazil 2014, we should look forward to this competition; for now the CHAN tournament, has ended.