Cyril C. NwokejiSunday, January 7, 2018


Continued from Part 7

ours sincerely belongs to the soccer school of thought that believes that with a good attacking team is a team can win a match; but a team with a good defence is a team can win a tournament! The importance of a good defensive organisation in a team cannot be over emphasised. Potentially great teams, never really achieve their true potentials, with a very weak defensive organisation; while potentially weaker teams, sometimes, over- achieve as a consequence of a strong defensive organisation!

The French world cup-winning team of 1998, achieved that level of success because of a solid defensive organisation, notwithstanding their then average level attack.

The Algerian team to the 2017 Nations' cup tournament, was potentially a good team, with a number of good mid-fielders and attackers. But fell like a pack of cards at the 2017 Nations' cup tournament, because of a weak back four!

The powerful Rangers International football club of yore, made waves mainly because of a rock solid defence, notwithstanding their very average, or sometimes below average attack!

Yours sincerely can go on and on with examples of the importance of a solid defensive organisation, in a team.

One is happy that the present Super Eagles' coach, gets the message in this regard. He emphasised the need to have a solid defence in the Super Eagles, right from the start of his tenure as coach of the Super Eagles. And he went to work in earnest in this regard, by re-organising/ overhauling the Super Eagles' defence totally. Hitherto regular Super Eagles' defenders, were shown the door in the new- look Super Eagles' defence. For example, in the team that won the 2013 Nations' cup tournament, among the defenders, only the "Recalcitrant" Elderson Echiejile and "Field Marshall Kenneth Omeruo, have been retained, in the new defensive set up. Even "Field Marshall" Kenneth Omeruo, has now been reduced to a fringe player, in the new scheme of things!

Needless saying the 2013 Nations' cup -winning team, had a weak defensive organisation, but survived in this regard mainly through the characteristic "Nigeria spirit"!

Coach Rohr, has so far weaved a solid defensive organisation for the Super Eagles, and this one believes will play a very crucial role in the 2018 World cup tournament!

Talking about the importance of the defence in a soccer team, reminds one of great defenders of yore, who plied their trade in our dear country Nigeria, one remembers:

Victor Odua, Christian "Chairman" Chukwu, Patrick Ekeji, Godwin Odiye, alias" Mr. No way", my very good friend and soccer mentor: Joachins Aronu Ogugua, alias "Gorimapa", Richmond Gbontir, John Ekpere, alias" Ga jone", Emeka, Ndinwa, Sunday Nwokocha, Loveday Omoruyi, Ernest Ufele, Dominic Ezeani, Charles Adimora, Innocent Obi-Ekwo, Mike Ochiagha, alias "Ochi war", Nnamdi Anyafo, alias "the policeman", or "Waskie", Amaechi Igweobi, Ahmed Annas, Bawa Abdullahi, Sam Ojebode, alias "Oje mi Oje", Felix Owolabi, alias "Owoblow" or "Mr. One way", Kennedy Darpah, Idowu Otunbusin, alias "Slow poison", John Benson, Joe Appiah, Anthony Edwards Okoronkwo, Aina Saliman, Tunde Bamidele, David Adiele, Okey Isima, Reuben Agboola, Kadiri Ikhana, Francis Monidafe, Leotis Boateng, Ignatius Ilechukwu, Jude Agada, Benedict Ugwu, alias "Surugede", Ikechukwu Ofoje, alias "Mkpurumkpu", John Yankio, Binebi Numa, Kingsley Akhionbare, Duere, Nduka Ugbade, Ladipupo Babalola,Tajudeen Disu, Stephen Keshi, Franklin Howard, Adewale Toriola, Andrew Uwe, Christopher Anigala, Mike Igbeka, Mike Odu, Titus Mba, Nosa Osadolor, Yisa Shofoluwe, alias "Dean of defence, or Yisa "Show-for-luwe", Kingsley Onye, alias"Mature", Amaechi Otti, Ali jeje, Godwin Eke, Uche Okafor, Uche Okechukwu, alias "Uche Baba", my very good friend: Chidi Nwanu, Augustine Eguavoen, alias "Cerezo", Mike Emenalo, alias "Ala Owerri", Bright Omokaro, alias "Mr. 10-10", Sunday Eboigbe, alias "Sunday new Benin", Sunday Iwuzor, Benedict Iroha, Godwin Okpara, Celestine Babayaro, Furo Iyenemi, Gbenga Okunowa, Taribo West, Mobi Oparaku, and all the other beautiful defenders, who due to limitations of the human memory, cannot be rememberd. They were great players who did well for their country Nigeria, at various levels.

It's our fervent wish and hope that their excellent contributions for Nigeria, will rub off on this present generation of defenders/players of the Super Eagles of Nigeria, particularly at the 2018 FIFA World cup tournament in Russia.


Continued from Part 7