|Thursday, April 21, 2022
" Failure is an inverted side of success." A philosopher
" Those who ridicule you when you are down, are highly complexed with regards to you." Cyril C. Nwokeji
" The doors of life open to those who push hardest." Anonymous
" Sometimes you need to take a step backwards, in order to move forward." Cyril C. Nwokeji
"Be mindful of the choices you make for they are like threads with which the untiring Loom of life weaves our carpet of fate." Anonymous
" The downfall of a man, may actually herald the start of a new, better and unprecedented beginning" Cyril C. Nwokeji
"Challenges paradoxically make life interesting and worth living" Cyril C. Nwokeji
" A life without challenges is not worth living" Cyril C. Nwokeji
" Every failure in the short term, brings one closer to a later success " A popular American Proverb
" He/She who is afraid to fail, is not ready to succeed" Cyril C. Nwokeji
"Failure is not the opposite of success, it is a stepping stone to success" Anonymous
hat the Super Eagles of Nigeria, though with a better array of stars, lost to a better and superbly "tactically" organised "Black stars" of Ghana, is well known to any unbiased soccer connoisseur. That the ticket to the World cup, was lost on a platter of sorts, is also well known.
In other words, the Super Eagles of Nigeria could have done better, given their collective intrinsic abilities, with better tactical guidance.
Over the two-legged fixtures, we saw a Super Eagles team, that couldn't rise up to the occasion, tactically against Ghana.
In the first leg match in Kumasi, the relatively unfancied Ghanaians, with lesser quality players, surprised the Super Eagles, with their shrewd tactical organisation, which tended to disorganise the Super Eagles. Operating in a highly tactical 3-5-2 formation, they maximised their strength in mid-field, and exploited it to their advantage.
Coach Eguavoen made some re-adjustments in mid-field in the second half, and the Super Eagles played better. They missed a sitter by Moses Simon, which with benefit of hindsight, proves costly!
A goalless draw outing in Kumasi, wasn't a bad result on paper. But reality check, has shown that such a score line can be disadvantageous to the home side. And on the 29th of March, 2022, in Abuja, it proved to be.
Going into the second leg match, with a scoreless outing in Kumasi, I reflected that the Super Eagles of Nigeria, couldn't afford to concede a goal, in Nigeria, as that could be 'suicidal'. I reasoned that the Super Eagles should approach the match with the mind set of conceding no home goal!
However, one of the problems of the team: bad goalkeeping, put a spanner in the works. The Super Eagles, notwithstanding, reacted well and got a deserved equaliser in the 22nd minute. With 68 minutes of soccer left, the Super Eagles of Nigeria had sufficient time to win the match. But fluffed the opportunity!
Why did they flounder? Me thinks Coach Eguavoen, going into the second leg match, made the wrong tactical choice, by sticking to a 4-3-3 formation. He should have re-adjusted his formation, to bring in the element of surprise into game, to his opponents. And, also, to give some 'freedom' to his golden point man : Victor Oshimen. He was tightly marked by two defenders in Kumasi. Coach Eguavoen should have introduced a second striker: Odion Ighalo, and operated a twin-striker's partnership, to somehow free Victor Oshimen from his 'captors' and create more chances for scoring, by having a second point man: Odion Ighalo, in match he absolutely needed to win within regulation time by scoring. In other words, he should have changed his formation to a : 4-4-2, to make room for this re-adjustment.
Unfortunately, he didn't, and that contributed to Nigeria losing the qualification to Qatar 2022. Also the attitude of the players, was a sore point in the match in Abuja.
After getting the equaliser, they as it were, went to 'sleep', they didn't show enough hunger and desire, for a team that wanted to win on home soil. They had sufficient time, but let the chance slip!
The Ghanaians were hungrier for the ticket, over the two legs; and coupled with superb tactical guidance, got the much- coveted ticket to Qatar. A very big congratulations to Coach Otto Addo, Technical Adviser: Chris Hughton and the other members of the technical crew, and of course, to the players and their supporters, for the beautiful work done, in qualifying for Qatar 2022!
In rounding up this piece, one is forced to make the following reflections:
Was the sacking of Coach Gernot Rohr, on the 'eve' of the "2021 Nations cup tournament", by the NFF, right? Yours sincerely opposed it!;
Was Coach Eguavoen technically and tactically sound enough to be made Super Eagles coach, in the aftermath of Coach Rohr's sacking? And by implication, are Nigerian coaches up to speed with modern trends in soccer coaching at the highest levels, to be entrusted with the onerous job of tinkering the Super Eagles and producing the needed results?;
The NFF's responsibility in the present failure of the Super Eagles, or not?;
Which way forward for the Super Eagles of Nigeria?
In the following articles, yours sincerely will attempt to answer these questions.
And finally, in the "Jollof derby", between Nigeria and Ghana, the 'bigger' Nigeria, was forced/humbled to eat the Ghanaian version of the jollof. However, not to worry, we have been on this road before, and will surely navigate our way out of it.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria, will rise again!
UP SUPER EAGLES! UP NIGERIA!!!!!!!!!