|Sunday, February 11, 2024
e are gradually coming to the end of the road in the 2023 edition of the AFCON tournament. The final match is slated for Sunday, the 11th of february, 2024. And Nigeria, represented by our dear Super Eagles, would be very much present to do battle with the hosts , Cote d' Ivoire.
Yours sincerely predicted this final match-up to some close friends, at the beginning of AFCON 2023. Even the Super Eagles' unimpressive 1-1 opening match's scoreline against Equatorial Guinea ; and the 4-0 thrashing of Cote d' Ivoire, incidentally by the same Equitorial Guinea, didn't change one's opinion with regards the final match-up.
Yours sincerely knew from experience that soccer scorelines can be deceitful sometimes. A close look at the match between the hosts and Equitorial Guinea, revealed the hosts occassioned by poor tactical guidance, made a fundamental silly mistake of attacking fully and leaving their territory open! They consequently sufffered the full measure of their opponent's counter-attacking forays. Thus, the 4-0 scoreline defeat to Equitorial Guinea, certainly, didn't reflect the relative strenghts of both teams. The hosts, thus, rightly sacked their coach and put in place a more tactically conservative coach, who with some decent measure of good luck, has gotten their team to the final match of AFCON 2023.
The critical question is : Can the Super Eagles defeat the "Elephants" of Cote d' Ivoire before their teeming suppporters and claim a fourth AFCON crown?
Yours sincerely's humble answer is, yes , it is possible to claim a fourth AFCON crown, despite the odds, God willing!
On paper the Super Eagles have the better team; and, indeed, the best team of the tournament! The building-up of the present Super Eagles team started in 2016, at the inception of the coaching responsibility of Coach Gernot Rohr. Thus, the building of the current Super Eagles team, has come full circle in the last eight years! The players are now matured, playing for decent clubsides in some of the best leagues in the world. As a team, they have, thanks to the relatively long camping period, occassioned by AFCON 2023, become a cohesive playing unit.
Added to the above facts, the players have realised the importance of the moment, and are resolved to take full advantage of it! It started when they convinced Coach Jose Peseiro to take a pay cut and stay on as Super Eagles' coach, at least, till the 2023 AFCON tournament. They realised that in the circumstances, with Coach Peseiro in charge, among other factors, they had the best chances of winning AFCON 2023.
Fortuitously, things started falling in place for the Super Eagles. Coach Peseiro, agreed to continue as coach. The goalkeeping problem was resolved, albeit a late move for an 'untested' goalkeeper at the senior national team level! There were injuries to some key players, but these were resolved with worthy replacements.
Nigerians as usual, like never before, are super strongly standing behind the Super Eagles of Nigeria, with everything at their disposal, by way of support!
And the Federal government, have also done their bit by providing the needed financial leverage to offset hitherto outstanding debts. And, also, continue to provide moral support to the team.
Thus, in the mix, the puzzels have fallen in place! And God willing, with the likely consequence of victory in the likely epic final match of AFCON 2023!
Back to the title of this piece. What will be the significance of a Super Eagles' victory on Sunday, the 11th of February, 2024, to Nigerians?
It will be a thing of immense joy to Nigerians, to realise that their dearly beloved team, have once again become African champions.
It will lift the collective spirit of Nigerians, more especially , at this time, with the economic difficulties, in Nigeria.
It will hopefully cement the bonds of unity linking Nigerians, and, hopefully, redefine the nation's destiny, for the better!
In conclusion, the likely epic final match between Nigeria and Cote d' Ivoire, would be closely followed, as in the other Super Eagles' matches of AFCON 2023. And God willing, with positive outcome!
UP SUPER EAGLES ! UP NIGERIA !!!!!!!!