|Wednesday, June 1, 2022|
ours sincerely saw in that match, two faces/complexions of the Super Eagles of Nigeria. In the first half, one saw a Super Eagles team that struggled against the 'elements': long journey to Texas, Unites States of America; as opposed to the Mexicans that came from just across the border to the United States. One also saw a 'new/ experimental/makeshift' team, hurriedly put together by the new Super Eagles' tactician: Jose Peseiro, and after just two training sessions, had to face the Mexicans, who have been together for quite some time!
The disparities between both teams going into the match couldn't have been greater. Thus, it was not surprising seeing the Mexicans seize the initiative and dominated the match for the better part of the first half. And were amply and justifiably rewarded with a first half one goal lead!
The following players who lined-up for the Super Eagles of Nigeria: Goalkeeper Francis Uzoho. Right-back Semi Ajayi; Left-back Calvin Bassey. Skipper William Troost-Ekong, centre-half back and Chidozie Awaziem, left-half back.
Innocent Bontin, defensive mid-fielder; together with the other mid-fielders: Joe Aribo, Alex Iwobi and Simon Moses.
And strikers: Morfi Terem and Cyriel Dessers; who were organised in a tactical 4-4-2 formation, didn't have an antidote to the rampaging Mexicans in the first half.
In the second half, Coach Peseiro, made some changes : Chidozie Awaziem and Semi Ajayi, swapped positions, apparently to give a better balance to the Super Eagles' defensive organisation.
He also tweaked the Super Eagles' formation, from 4-4-2 to a more offensive-oriented 4-3-3 formation.
The re-organisations brought about the desired effects, as the Super Eagles took control of the game, in their more naturally / "DNA"-oriented 4-3-3 formation!
They dominated the Mexicans in all aspects of the game; and were justly rewarded with an equaliser off the brilliant effort of Calvin Bassey, who in an overlapping run down the left flank, sent a pin-point lobbed pass in the direction of Cyriel Dessers, who exhibited superb marksmanship, by heading the ball down to the ground, to disorganise the Mexican goalkeeper, who had positioned himself to deal with a direct header from Cyriel Dessers! But, unfortunately, for him, by heading the ball to the ground, the goalkeeper was destabilised in his original plan; and, thus, the ball bounced from the ground and escaped the clutches of the Mexican goalkeeper, for the much-deserved equaliser!
It reminds me of the goal scored by another brilliant Nigerian striker of yore: Segun "Mathematical" Odegbami, at the 1978 African Nations' cup competition in Ghana.
Against the then hosts Ghana, in Nigeria's second group's match, left-winger Adokiye Amesimaka, characteristically dribbled/took out the then Ghanaian right-back: Isaac Paha, and pulled out a high ball into the Ghanaian penalty area; lurking striker Segun Odegbami, took advantage, by heading the ball to the ground, instead of directly to the Ghanaian goalkeeper: Joseph Carr, who positioned himself to deal with a possible direct header from Odegbami. Segun Odegbami, exhibited superb marksmanship and did the right thing and the Ghanaian keeper was disorganised and consequently beaten for Nigeria's first goal in that match!
Details of that match and other matches played by the Super Eagles of Nigeria, are chronicled in my book: " Super Eagles of Nigeria : Pride of Africa", which reference is given at the end of this piece.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria, unfortunately, conceded an own goal, to unfortunately lose the match.
In conclusion, the Super Eagles of Nigeria have entered a new era in their development, under a new coach. The Mexican test was certainly a good way to start the new era.
Yours sincerely like all Super Eagles' supporters , wishes the team well.
UP SUPER EAGLES! UP NIGERIA!!!!!!!!