Friday, June 7, 2019

ndeed it is unfortunate for the courageous Flying Eagles of Nigeria, to have battled so hard, but to crash out in the second round of the under-20 world cup competition. They gave it their all, particularly in the match against the Senegalese, but still fell short of the requirements for advancement to the quarter-finals.

This piece will attempt to examine why the Flying Eagles couldn't realise their 'destiny' at the under-20 world cup competition. Needless saying they were a bunch of talented young men, who played soccer with their heart!

Why did the Flying Eagles of Nigeria fail at the under-20 world cup competition?

Like as earlier stated, that they were individually talented was certainly not in doubt. But their individual talents couldn't propel them to the required heights for the following reasons, according to yours sincerely:

Firstly, they had a very weak defensive organisation! Yours sincerely belongs to the soccer school of thought that believes that with a good attack, a team can win a match, but with a good defensive organisation, a team can win a tournament! If the Flying Eagles had a better defensive organisation, they would be in the quarter-finals of the tournament. The Senegalese were certainly not more talented than them, on an individual basis, but had more self- confidence and played better as a team! The two goals scored by Senegal came as a consequence of avoidable 'gaffes' in the Flying Eagles' defensive organisation! 'Gaffes' that betrayed a lack of comprehension of fundamental defensive principles, that should characterise a decent defensive organisation! For example, losing sight of an opposing attacker, in your very vital area, this led to Senegal's first goal; giving up large 'chunks' of space, in the 'holiest of holy' places ( in front of goal), this led to Senegal's second goal! And sometimes tackling an opponent carelessly, which necessitated the issuance of yellow cards to some players.

Secondly, the players played without a decent measure of self- confidence! They were apparently intimidated by the under-20 world cup stage(=stage fright!). They were certainly not confident enough on the ball to showcase their true potentials/talent. As a consequence, they made a lot of faulty passes. As a matter of fact, their "passing game", was scandalously poor for a team that qualified for the under-20 world cup competition! Through constantly passing the ball wrongly, they aided their opponents by putting unnecessary pressure on their team. They as a consequence, also, missed a decent measure of creativity in their mid-field play, and found it "impossible" to give the final defining pass to their attacker(s), in the final third of the opponents' half, notwithstanding their high work rate and, consequently, superior ball possession percentage!

The only chance created by the Flying Eagles in the match against the Senegalese, came as consequence of a counter-attack, which was poorly finished, despite the huge opportunity presented to the Flying Eagles! The player who missed the chance, apparently, lacked self-confidence on the ball. A more confident player seeing that the Senegalese defenders were some distance away from him, should have trapped the ball and confidently picked his spot for what would have been Nigeria's equaliser in the first half! Contrast this with the reaction of the attacker who scored Senegal's first goal. He got a through pass deep into Nigeria's territory, notwithstanding the somewhat challenge he got from a Nigerian defender, apparently, knowing that he had an advantage, remained cool and calculated to slot home Senegal's first goal! That is the difference between a top, confident, attacker and a less confident striker!

At that stage of soccer competition, a lack of self -confidence can be inimical to a team's chances of success! The Flying Eagles certainly, were not confident enough on the ball!!!!!

Finally, they were apparently not lucky enough at the tournament. A luckier team would have gotten away with some of their weaknesses, that proved fatal.

However, two Flying Eagles players stood out with their fantastic performances : Goalkeeper Oremade and Skipper Utin Ikouwen. They are two players who deserve to be given a chance to play for the Super Eagles of Nigeria, after the Nations' cup competition in Egypt.

In conclusion, notwithstanding the determination, the courage, the very high work rate of the Flying Eagles players, yours sincerely considers the 2019 under-20 world cup tournament, as a failed adventure for the Flying Eagles of Nigeria. They should have done better given their individual qualities. Nigerians should however be compassionate in their criticisms of the team, they are young men and will certainly grow in the game.


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 : nwokeji.cyril@gmail.com Please note in this case, payment of postage costs will be necessary