|Wednesday, April 24, 2019|
he Super Eagles' Nations' cup first round group comprising : Madagascar, Guinea and Burundi, on paper looks like an easy one for the highly rated Super Eagles of Nigeria. In reality however, it may not be so easy for the Super Eagles.
Guinea, the on paper likely qualifiers with the Super Eagles from the group, have always been hard customers for Nigeria, most especially at senior level soccer. A number of examples will buttress my point:
The great Rangers International Football Club of Enugu, Nigeria, of yore, had a hard time against "Hafia Football Club" of Conakry, Guinea. One remembers the 1975 "African cup of Champions club" now "African Champions' league" final clash. The great "Hafia" of Guinea, having won the first leg clash 1-0, in Conakry, Guinea, were expected to be a beatable opposition for Rangers in Lagos, in the second leg clash. But the great "Hafia" team inspired by the legendary and highly skill full "Le petit souri"( the little rat), apparently, so called because of his diminutive stature and the technically "wiley" Papa Camara, overcame a first half penalty scored by Mathias Obianika, which gave Rangers a 1-0 first half lead, to score two second half goals, to defeat Rangers 2-1, in Lagos, to win the "African Champions' league", on a goal aggregate score of 3-1!
The great "Water Corporation Football Club of Ibadan", Nigeria, after recording a sensational 4-2 victory against the same "Hafia" of Guinea, in the first leg clash of the 1977 "African Champions' league" encounter, in Ibadan, were roundly beaten 3-0, in Conakry Guinea, in the second leg!
At the national team level, Guinea prevented the Super Eagles of Nigeria from winning the silver medal of the 1976 African Nations' cup competition, in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia. Nigeria drew 1-1 with Guinea, in the second round round-robin series' encounter, that determined the eventual winners of the 1976 African Nations' cup competition.
At the Under-20 level , in 1983, Nigeria narrowly defeated Guinea, at the final group's eliminator to qualify for her first ever World cup competition! The Flying Eagles of Nigeria, came out of that encounter badly bruised, as they lost the services of their then top striker: Segun Olukanmi, who was injured in the encounter. He also missed the Under-20 World cup tournament later that year. Segun Olukanmi's absence, saw to the emergence of another gifted striker : Dehinde Akinlotan. Segun Olukanmi together with his younger brother: Femi Olukanmi, a highly talented offensive mid-fielder, who was also in that team, were in my considered opinion, the first brothers from the same parents to play together for Nigeria, at the National team level!
Guinea also eliminated the Coach Samson Sia Sia- led Super Eagles, from the 2012 African Nations' cup competition.
Madagascar would not be so easy either. The Super Eagles of Nigeria, under Coach Samson Sia Sia, laboured hard to overcome them at home in Antannanarivo, in 2011, for the 2012 Nations' cup qualifier. The Super Eagles of Nigeria, needed to defeat them by at least 2-0; but could only score the two goals, with about fifteen minutes left to play! The goals were scored by then Skipper Joseph Yobo, courtesy of a glancing header from a corner kick and an individual solo effort that resulted in a pile-driver from Sylvanus Nsofor!
Yours sincerely has no recollection of the Super Eagles of Nigeria meeting the Burundese in soccer. However, since they qualified for the 2019 Nations' Cup competition, they must be respected and treated with caution!
In conclusion, the aim of the above analysis, is to caution the Super Eagles on the need not to underestimate their group's or any opponent for that matter, at the 2019 African Nations cup competition. Soccer has grown on the African continent over the years. The Super Eagles must be thoroughly prepared to achieve their true potentials at the 2019 Nations' cup competition!
UP SUPER EAGLES ! UP 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