Friday, July 20, 2018

egardless of the performance of the French national soccer side in the final match of the 2018 World cup competition, yours sincerely considers them deserving world cup soccer kings! If we take into consideration their performance throughout the tournament, one comes away with the above mentioned impression.

The Belgians don't have the same opinion, and will readily tell one how the French frustrated their team in the semi's with negative football(defensive game), after they scored their only goal of the match. Yours sincerely doesn't agree. Soccer competitions nowadays is all about winning! And winning among other things entails evolving the right strategy. If a coach has to "park the bus" ( playing defensive game), in order to win, so be it. The most important thing is to get the desired result at the end of the day. The French got it and that is why they are world champions, and certainly deserve our collective congratulations! I have told my Belgian friends not to worry, but to bid their time which one believes will not be in the distant future all things being equal.

The French victory was as a result of long term planning and consistency in their soccer administration! From the ashes of their failed and disgraceful 2010 World cup tournament in South-Africa, where they not only made the wrong headlines for not only failing to qualify from the preliminary rounds, but also for being mired in disciplinary issues, the French rose up, by firstly defining a new road map for the future. They sacked their then coach: Raymond Domenech, and appointed Laurent Blanc, alias" Le President", a member of the 1998 World cup winning team as the new coach of "Les Bleues". Laurent Blanc, had then just won the French first division title with FC Girondins Bordeaux. He moved in a new direction by discarding the remaining 'relics' of the 1998 and 2000 World cup and European cup winning squad. He invited young, talented, though inexperienced players into the French team. He challenged them with 2012 European championship qualifiers in which they did quite well and qualified for the 2012 European championship in Poland and Ukraine. But at the championship, they lost in the quarter- finals.

Coach Laurent Blanc was adjudged to have done well enough to continue as coach, but the oil dollars of the new owners of PSG soccer team, was too tempting to be ignored, consequently left his job, to coach the PSG soccer team. Consequently, Coach Didier Deschamps was called upon to take up coaching responsibility of the French national team. Coach Deschamps had before then earned his coaching strips with successes at Juventus of Italy, that he helped to win promotion back to the "Serie A", after banishment to the "Serie B", as a result of some scandal that had to do with match-fixing, in which they were allegedly involved in their "Serie A" title-winning effort, earlier on. He later on coached Monaco, and brought the team to the final of the 2004 Champions league, before they lost to Jose Mourinho's Porto. He also won the French first division title with Olympic Marseille soccer team.

Coach Deschamps as an accomplished coach, set forth the good work started by Coach Laurent Blanc. He further developed the team, and discovered other young talented players on the way. At the 2014 World cup, after defeating the Super Eagles of Nigeria, in the second round, they lost to the Germans in the quarter-finals.

The team's development continued. At the 2016 European championship on home soil, they got to the final, and lost narrowly to the Portuguese. At that point in time, yours sincerely knew that their being world champions wouldn't be in the distant future. This thinking was informed by the consistent progress made by the team under Coach Deschamp's watch.

Contrast the development of the French team in the last four years with that of the Super Eagles of Nigeria. One sees that while the French, developed in the last four years, the Super Eagles of Nigeria, as a matter of fact, had a backslide in their fortunes over the same period of time! The fact that the French won the 2018 World cup, a big improvement from their quarter-final performance in 2014, while the Super Eagles of Nigeria crashed out in the preliminary rounds of the 2018 World cup competition, as opposed to their second round qualification in 2014, proves this point.

The difference in the fortunes of both teams has mainly to do with organisation - football administration! While the French forged ahead with their soccer administration, the NFF, in 2014, was bedevilled in a crises that negatively affected the Super Eagles of Nigeria! One sincerely hopes this crisis doesn't rear it's ugly head again in 2018!

The lesson to be learnt from the French success is that: soccer development and consequently success nowadays, doesn't come through some accidental happenstance! But through careful and well- articulated programme aimed at helping a country's team(s)! The victory is first of all gotten in the boardroom, before the victory can be translated through the coaches to the players on the field of play. In this wise, one is appealing to the NFF, to allow Coach Rohr continue with the good work he has already started and of course back him up with sound soccer management!

Finally, a very big congratulations to the French national team: "Les Bleues", and of course to the coaching crew under leadership of Coach Didier Deschamps. By this success, Coach Didier Deschamps follows in the illustrious footsteps of: Mario Zagalo of Brazil and Franz Beckenbauer of Germany, as the only three persons to have won the World cup as player and coach!

Also at the link below, one can come into contact with a number of items, needed to support the Super Eagles at "RUSSIA 2018" !!!!!