|Wednesday, June 20, 2018|
he result of the match-up against the Croats, in the World cup group's opener, is already history. But certain salient points about that encounter need to be taken note of, for better performance of the Super Eagles in the ongoing World cup competition.
Yours sincerely as an unrepentant optimist, still believes in the Super Eagles' qualification from their group and also in a successful prosecution of the 2018 World cup, please God!
How did yours sincerely see the match?
One saw a Super Eagles' team that played a "tactical defensive" game, in a 4-2-3-1 mould. Coach Rohr, apparently, as a consequence of the respect or rather "excessive" respect for the opponents, chose to contain them, rather than play his own game! On the one hand, on understood this mind set of his, given the array of talented world class players, at the disposal of the Croats. More especially their world famed mid-field trio: Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic and Rakitic! But on the other hand, by obsessively containing the Croats, during the match, the Super Eagles gave up their qualities, which if utilised, could have rattled the Croats!
The "containment" policy of Coach Rohr, worked perfectly for the first thirty minutes of the game. But after the first goal was scored, Nigeria was in a dilemma, whether to change the game plan and go all out for the equaliser, with the concomitant risks, or continue in the original mould. Me thinks Coach Rohr choose for the latter option, but asked his players to somewhat push harder in the offensive direction.
At the beginning of the second half, with the Croats still enjoying their slight advantage, one expected Coach Rohr, to change strategy and opt for a more offensive system: the 4-3-3. This didn't happen till the 60th minute, with the introduction of Ahmed Musa. Unfortunately, this tactical change didn't help matters as Ahmed Musa, was somewhat injured almost as soon as he came in, and, consequently, couldn't live up to expectations. The subsequent introductions of Kelechi Iheanacho and Simeon Okonkwo, didn't help matters much.
The Super Eagles further fell behind, no thanks to William Troost-Ekong's rather naieve defensive methods.
The sum total of the above scenario, was the loss of three points to the Croats.
Did the Croats deserve their victory? Me thinks yes! However, not because of some display of great soccer artistry, even by their famed mid-field trio. The mid-field trio were as a matter of fact, quietened by the Super Eagles' tactical defensive play! But they won as a consequence of the Super Eagles' "timidity"; "naievity" with regards defending set pieces and of course through some negative "accidental happenstance", in their favour - the first goal!
Going forward, what can be done to remedy the situation in the game against the Icelanders, whom yours sincerely will like to refer to as the "Vikings" ?
Me thinks in the game against the Vikings, the Super Eagles should prosecute the match, going out from their position of strength! In other words, while the Super Eagles should respect them, there should be no "timidity" in approaching the game. The Super Eagles should face the Vikings with confidence, with renewed confidence, and play against them the way the Super Eagles are known for: attacking soccer, anchored on wing play, and of course tinged with the necessary defensive precautions!!!!!!
Yours sincerely will opt for a very fast, mobile and offensive 4-3-3 formation; preferably with two offensive/creative mid-fielders to help bring the needed creativity and propel the attack against a likely compact-playing Iceland! When the Super Eagles are on the offensive, every player should join the attack, except the two central defenders and the defensive mid-fielder. When the team is on the defensive, everybody should come back to defend, except the centre-forward, who will serve as the point of a new offensive against the opponents ,when the ball is recuperated.
It will certainly not be easy, but I believe given the quality of Nigeria's players, they can do it! Yours sincerely believes the Super Eagles have an edge over the Icelanders - technically. The Super Eagles can match their physical attributes. The Super Eagles, please God, can out-think, out-run, out-smart, out-fox and out-play them, to achieve a famous victory that will relaunch Nigeria's World cup bid at the 2018 World cup competition!!!!!!!!
In conclusion, the match against the Croats, is history; the match against the Icelanders is winnable! Nigerians should continue to rally round the Super Eagles, like one man! Everything is still possible for Nigeria at the 2018 World cup competition!
Nigerians expect the Super Eagles to do well in the match against the Icelanders, yours sincerely believes they can do it!!!!!!
Yours sincerely unflinchingly believes in the Super Eagles of Nigeria!
"Anyi bu nkwa"! "Iseeeeehhhhh"!
UP SUPER EAGLES! UP NIGERIA!!!!!!!!