|Tuesday, July 16, 2019|
t was a thriller of a semi-final clash between two giants of African soccer, with as prize: qualification for the final match of AFCON 2019. The two teams gave it their all, but at the end of the day, the better side qualified for the final of AFCON 2019!
What went wrong for the Super Eagles on that day?
Me thinks the Super Eagles met a side that out-classed them in virtually all departments of the game! The Algerians had a better goalkeeper, they defended better, they had better control of the mid-field, attacked better and generally played better as a team! They also played a fast-tempo high pressing game, which the Super Eagles had difficulties coping with.
In the first half, the dominance was so much that the Super Eagles were left chasing the game! The own goal conceded by William Troost-Ekong, was as a consequence of this over-dominance in the first half.
The second half brought about some improvements on the Nigerian side, but after Nigeria got the equaliser, the Algerians sensing the danger of going into extra-time, which would have put them at a stamina disadvantage, considering the fact they had a day's rest less than the Nigerians, upped their game: they increase the tempo, commenced once again with their high pressing game. The free kick conceded close to the penalty area of Nigeria, was a consequence. For a player of the stature of Mahrez, such a free-kick, is as good as a penalty kick- al a Brazilian style! He took his chance with both hands and sent his team to the AFCON 2019 final match. Which they have a real chance of winning!
For our players generally, one of the lessons to be learnt from AFCON 2019, is to watch their tackles of the opponents very close to the penalty area. This was how South-Africa got their equaliser in the encounter in the quarter-finals! We shall dwell more on this and other aspects of the Super Eagles' game in the "Nations' cup review" at the end of the tournament.
The Super Eagles now know their current standing in African soccer, in this latest evaluation of African soccer, courtesy of the AFCON 2019! The Super Eagles are not Africa's best as at 2019, but have the potential to be Africa's best in 2021, if they harness and practicalise the lessons of AFCON 2019. Yours sincerely, as usual, will make his own contributions in this regard, in the later articles.
The Super Eagles, regardless of the out-come of the third-place match, should depart Egypt with their heads held high! They did their best and are Nigeria's heroes of the moment! A team that was in shambles only three years ago, now getting to the pinnacle of African soccer, is praise worthy! A big congratulations to the boys and the technical crew!!!!!
On another bright note, if Algeria, a team that was in 'shambles' at AFCON 2017, in which they were eliminated in the preliminary rounds, could after two years, stand at the threshold of being the new Africa champions, it means that following the rules of logic, the Super Eagles of Nigeria, who missed the African title by a hair, in 2019, have a good chance of being African champions in 2021, if the right things are done!
In conclusion, the Super Eagles are as usual, hugely supported by their country- men and women and their other teeming supporters!
UP SUPER EAGLES ! UP NIGERA!!!!!
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