Tuesday, July 9, 2019

t was a thrilling encounter, very thrilling indeed. What a match it was. For ninety plus minutes we were kept at the edge of our seats by two sides who very much wanted victory and went all out for attacking soccer. It was soccer at it's best, and it is till date, in my considered opinion, the best encounter of AFCON 2019!

The Super Eagles of Nigeria were very much determined to win the encounter, and they indeed raised their game from the performance of the first round. They give one the impression that they are gradually getting to their peak; this portends well for the team, for Nigerians and all other Super Eagles' supporters, as the competition gets to the crucial stages!

The "Indomitable Lions" of Cameroun were impressive in their display. They showed lots of promise. If they can take care of their weakness at the back, a weakness the Super Eagles exploited, they will become another great Camerounian team in the nearest future. Me thinks Coaches Clarence Seedorf and Patrick Kluivert, should be allowed to continue on their job.

How did the Super Eagles perform soccer technically?

One saw a team that played in a 4-3-3 formation. And, consequently, didn't shy away from attacking soccer from the onset. They expanded their wings beautifully in an expansive manner putting tremendous pressure on the Camerounians, three goals came as a consequence!

Goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi, was good; but made some mistakes that we shall talk about in the later part of the article. A big thanks to him for his efforts.

The defence line was fairly ok. But there were lapses noticed, we shall discuss them later. A big thanks to: Chidozie Awaziem, at right- back; Ola Aina, at left- back; William Troost-Ekong, alias "Rock of Gibralter", at centre-half back and "Field Marshall" Kenneth Omeruo, at left-half back.

The mid-fielders did a great job and were the 'architects' of the revamped offensive salvos of the Super Eagles of Nigeria. A big thanks to the trio of: Wilfred Ndidi, alias "the baggy bagger"; Etebo Oghenekaro, alias "Turbo Engine" and Alex Iwobi, alias "the dancing Krekel"!

The offensive weelde was super!!!! They reacted positively to recent criticisms of their relatively poor performance: paucity of goals ; by banging in three, against a team of the calibre of the "Indomitable Lions" of Cameroun!!!! A big thanks to: Simon Moses, alias "the Atilogwu dancer"; "The Supersonic jet- heeled", stand-in Skipper Ahmed "Mansa" Musa and the "Man of the match", Odion Ighalo, alias "Top 9". They were super indeed! If not for the heroics of Goalkeeer Ondoa, they could have scored more goals!

The substitutes did quite well. A big thanks to: Samuel Chukwueze, alias "El-fantastico"; Paul Onuachu and "Commander General" Leon Balogun!

While basking in the euphoria of the Super Eagles' victory, one must hasten to point out some of the lapses noticed during the match.

Goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi, showed some weaknesses: he apparently still lacks a decent measure of self- confidence, for a goalkeeper of that calibre. This showed in his indecisiveness in dealing with a Camerounian cross into the box, in the second half. If not for Mother luck, Kenneth Omeruo, in trying to save the situation, might have accidentally deviated the ball into his own net! Goalkeeper Akpeyi, needs to have more self- belief. One year ago at the World cup, he was Nigeria's number three keeper. He has not become number one now, through some accidental happenstance; but through merit, occasioned among other factors, by sheer dint of hard work. He should continue to believe in his ability and not panic unnecessarily! Also the "theatrics" which he is known for, should stop! He should deal with free balls that come to him professionally, and not try to handle them in a manner to impressive himself on others. A highly predacious attacker, could take advantage of it. As the competition nears the crucial stages, this could be a reality as teams are more than ever before determined to win matches!

The defence showed lapses that need to be corrected. The two Camerounian goals came as a consequence! Kenneth Omeruo, positioned himself wrongly for the first goal of the Camerounians. He focused on the ball and lost sight of the attacker! He should have focused on the attacker and the ball at the same time. That way he could have cut off the space the attacker used to make hay.

Ola Aina, needs to be quicker and much more alert in his defensive responsibilities! The lack of these qualities, apparently as a consequence of temporary loss of concentration, resulted in the second Camerounian goal.

For the Super Eagles, generally, when playing in a 4-3-3 formation, in an attacking disposition, they are expected to spread out their 'wings' maximally, and attack their opponents expansively, making good use of every available space. In a defensive disposition, they are supposed to fall back into their 'trenches', in a compact manner, thus denying their opponents every available space. The defensive aspect of the 4-3-3 formation, was not maximally executed during the match and also contributed to the goals scored by Cameroun!

In conclusion, Nigerians and all other Super Eagles' supporters are solidly behind the Super Eagles of Nigeria!


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