FEATURE ARTICLE

Monday, January 7, 2019
[email protected]
Belgium
AFCON 2019 IS WINNABLE FOR THE SUPER EAGLES OF NIGERIA
ours sincerely seizes this opportunity to say a very happy 2019, to all my readers and mankind, may the good Lord in his infinite mercy and kindness, grant all of us all the best we wish for ourselves in 2019 and always. Amen!

The year of the AFCON is once again here. Luckily and happily for our dear Super Eagles and all Nigerians, the Super Eagles will be among the competing nations come June 2019. The host country is unknown thus far, but regardless of where the competition takes place, Nigeria would be represented and please God very well for that matter!

The AFCON competition affords an evaluation of the soccer standards of the African continent every two years. The Super Eagles of Nigeria, have missed out on this evaluation in the last four years! This has come with the concomitant drop not only in the ratings on the African continent, but also at world level.

However, the Super Eagles of Nigeria, have come a 'long' way since the last time African soccer was evaluated/re-evaluated in 2017.

The changes that took place in the Super Eagles since 2016/2017, are well known to all Super Eagles' supporters. Positive changes one must acknowledge that have seen the fortunes of the Super Eagles catapulted to enviable heights, more especially in the last two years; the highlight of which was Nigeria's qualification for the 2018 World cup competition, from a so-called "group of death"!; and also the Super Eagles' third- placed finishing in their group, at the 2018 World cup competition. A group that had as one of the competitors, the runner's up of the 2018 World cup competition! The Super Eagles posted Africa's best performance at the last World cup competition!!!!

Happily, the Super Eagles' performance has continued to get better since the last World cup competition. The Super Eagles have improved collectively as a team and also individually. The Super Eagles posted thus far, a near- perfect run in the 2019 AFCON qualifying series, to get the ticket with one match left to play! The Super Eagles now play better collectively; and have tinged their direct - traditional German - soccer style with a decent measure of "champagne" soccer, a la French style; more especially, since the conversion of Alex Iwobi, alias "the dancing Krekel", to the role of offensive/ creative mid-fielder. This is a piece of advice, yours sincerely gave to Coach Rohr, in my article titled:" Lessons from the rather surprising and shocking defeat to the South-Africans," in 2017. The link is below

https://nigeriaworld.com/feature/publication/nwokeji/062417.html

The players like as earlier stated, have improved significantly individually. Some have moved to bigger club sides:

Tyronne" the dream" Ebuehi, now plays for "Benfica," a Portuguese top club; Ola Aina, is currently on loan in "Torino" FC, an Italian first division team; William Troost-Ekong, alias "Rock of Gibralter", plays for "Udinese", another Italian first division team; Abdullahi Shehu, alias "Man O' War", moved to "Bursarspoor", a Turkish first division team, in January 2018. "The Adventurous" Samuel Kalu, moved to "Bordeaux" FC, a top French first division team, at the beginning of the current soccer season. Henry Onyekuru, is presently on loan at "Galatasary," a Turkish top side. Goalkeeper Francis Uzoho, now plays fairly regularly for a second division team in Spain.

Also, some new players have been discovered to complement and fortify the Super Eagles team. Players like: Jamilu Collins, the excitingly attacking left- back and Samuel Chukwueze, the highly skilful, left-footed winger, have been fantastic additions to the Super Eagles set-up!

In addition, there are other highly talented players waiting in the wings to join the Super Eagles family. One of them, a top central striker, rejected a big money move to China recently, in other to brighten his chances of being called up once again to the Super Eagles.

The net effect of these positive changes, which also include the world class Super Eagles' coach, a pro-active NFF and of course the ever-supportive Super Eagles' supporters, is that the Super Eagles of Nigeria have really grown in the last two years!

The critical question is: How will the Super Eagles of Nigeria fare against Africa's very best at the 2019 AFCON competition?

Me thinks the Super Eagles of Nigeria, considering their present standing, can take on any African team, and with a decent chance of winning! The above-mentioned facts support my optimism. There is also the typical "Nigerian fighting spirit," that propels Nigerians to greater heights; to higher heights than expected!!!!!

Yours sincerely respects all African teams; one is cognisant of the fact that as a consequence of huge financial investments over the years, the standards of African soccer have risen tremendously. A consequence of which there are no more so called "small teams" in Africa. Moreover, the Super Eagles of Nigeria, are not yet a perfect team; there is certainly room for improvement. According to Coach Rohr, the Super Eagles are 70 percent ready as a(n) (Ideal) team!

In conclusion, notwithstanding the above-stated realities, when the day of reckoning comes- AFCON 2019 - please God, the Super Eagles of Nigeria will be ready to do battle with the very best that Africa has got to offer in 2019; and with a decent chance of going all the way!

UP SUPER EAGLES! UP NIGERIA!!!!!!!!!!!

Cyril C. Nwokeji is the author of the book: "Super Eagles of Nigeria: Pride of Africa", presently on sale on www. Amazon.com

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1976765951/ref=sr_1_7

Also at the link below, one can come into contact with a number of items, used to support the Super Eagles at "RUSSIA 2018"!!!!!

https://teespring.com/stores/super-eagles-of-nigeria

The book "Super Eagles of Nigeria: Pride of Africa", can also be gotten through the author. One can contact the author through: [email protected] Please note in this case, payment of postage costs will be necessary

Also at the link below, one can come into contact with a number of items, needed to support the Super Eagles at "RUSSIA 2018" !!!!!

https://teespring.com/stores/super-eagles-of-nigeria

The book "Super Eagles of Nigeria : Pride of Africa", can also be gotten through the author. One can contact the author through : [email protected] Please note in this case, payment of postage costs will be necessary


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