Saturday, May 25, 2019
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Okechukwu Offia of Nigeria celebrates with team mate Jamil Muhammad of Nigeria after scoring his team’s second goal during the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup group D match between Qatar and Nigeria at Tychy Stadium on May 24, 2019 in Tychy, Poland. PHOTO: Aitor Alcalde/FIFA

he score of 4-0, did justice to the relative strengths of both teams. The Flying Eagles of Nigeria, with all due respect to the Qatarese, were in a class of their own (a higher class than the Qatarese)!

Going into the match, the Flying Eagles knew what was needed: the three points at stake against a supposedly weaker team of the Flying Eagles' group! Coach Paul Aigbogun did not mince words in this regard, when he clearly stated the above stated ambition of the Flying Eagles of Nigeria.

From the blast of the referee's whistle, the Flying Eagles went after their opponents. They initially didn't do it in a convincing manner, apparently, due to the initial "stage fright". They used unnecessarily long balls to try to get past the Qatarese, but with little success. This resulted in the relatively paucity of chances created by the Flying Eagles. However, after the first two goals which came off the brilliant efforts of Skipper Ikouwen Etin, the Flying Eagles started playing soccer; by using quick, short combinations, and that way started dislodging their opponents.

Save for a few dangerous counters by the Qatarese, particularly, in the second half, which exposed the frailties of the Flying Eagles' defensive organisation, they didn't really trouble the Flying Eagles of Nigeria. We shall talk about these frailties later on in the essay.

In order words, when the Flying Eagles started playing soccer according to the "classical" rules of the game, they got past the Qatarese! The score of 4-0, proved the superiority over the Qatarese!!!!!!

What did the Flying Eagles not do well during the match?

Me thinks the defensive organisation, during fast counters by the Qatarese, after a Flying Eagles offensive move deep into the opponents territory, was less than optimal!

One noticed that during those fast Qatarese counters, the Flying Eagles were usually very "thin", at the back; and the Flying Eagles players who needed to run backwards from the opponents' territory, didn't do that quickly enough. Some of them were apparently, somewhat lethargic, while trying to run backwards to help the defence!

One also noticed that when the Flying Eagles needed to stop an advancing Qatarese offensive, rather than try to shut-out the Qatarese player with the ball and at the same time shut- out the other advancing Qatarese attackers running into space for a possible pass, they concentrated solely on the player with the ball, while leaving the other advancing Qatarese players free!

This defensive lapse, had the potential of making life more difficult for the Flying Eagles, if the advancing attacker made a pass to the "free" co-attacker, left "free" by the Flying Eagles defenders! In other words, the Flying Eagles players, in a defensive disposition, didn't shut-out their opponents properly from their vital area! Or, rather, didn't close down the spaces available to the opponents, in a defensive disposition. This is a fundamental rule of defensive organisation of any soccer team!!!!!

One expects the coaches to correct these and other lapses noticed, as the Flying Eagles would henceforth confront more difficult opponents during the course of the tournament!

In conclusion, it was a fairly good performance by the Flying Eagles. Nigerians can savour this victory!


Also at the link below, one can come into contact with a number of items, needed to support the Super Eagles at "EGYPT 2019" !!!!!


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