Wednesday, October 20, 2021

"The Super Eagles of Nigeria, have a bright future and can realise their immediate and long term ambitions, given the correct developmental environment." Cyril C. Nwokeji

"The retention of Coach Gernot Rohr, at least till 2022, is a conditio sine qua non for the Super Eagles of Nigeria to take the soccer world by storm, at the Qatar 2022 World cup competition." Cyril C. Nwokeji

hey were stubborn, very stubborn indeed! They refused to be intimidated by the much superior Super Eagles of Nigeria. They gave the Super Eagles a run for their money in both matches. They even caused a soccer 'earth quake' of sorts, by being the first team to defeat the Super Eagles at home, in a World Cup qualifier, for forty years! And nearly made the soccer-crazy Nigerians go crazy. But that is soccer for you. One of the things that makes the game interesting, is it's unpredictability!

However, for all their difficult and uncompromising disposition towards the Super Eagles in their match-ups, there were finally subdued in their adopted home : Douala, Cameroun.

How was this sweet victory realised?

Coach Rohr, predictably, radically changed the formation of the Super Eagles, after the 'mishap' of the first leg, in Lagos.

He went for a 3-5-2 formation, as opposed to the 4-4-2 he employed in Lagos. Apparently, he didn't want the 'luxury' of having defensive full-backs, who operated from the flanks of the defence, as was obtained in the 4-4-2 formation he used in Lagos.

He opted for a 3-5-2 formation, with three central defenders, as the defensive wall of the Super Eagles, and, that way applied what yours sincerely calls: "high pressure" on the opponents! Or rather applied the concept of "high flow", in the game pattern of the Super Eagles! That way he concentrated the game mainly in the mid-field, where he used five players, to ensure the activities there favoured the Super Eagles : a master tactician!

Of course the offensive front had the twin strikers' combination.

And what was the result of the changes?

We saw a vastly improved Super Eagles, who attacked their opponents in a much more directed, organised, focused and dynamic manner: a greater efficiency in the Super Eagles attacking forays!

And what happened?

The Central Africans were destabilised by the revamped Super Eagles. And before they knew it: bang!!!!! They were down by two goals in the opening stanza of the game!

And who were the heroes who practicalised the coaches' tactical plans on the field of play?:

Goalkeeper Maduka Okoye was in goal. In the words of the commentator, he was "underemployed", for the duration of the game, due to the efficiency of the defensive wall built by Coach Rohr. They never gave the opponents the opportunity to create one decent chance for the duration of the match. Notwithstanding, the few times he got the ball from the opponents, he did so with alacrity and style, that has now made him Nigeria's number one goalkeeper. Kudos!

The three-man defence stared: Chidozie Awaziem, right-half back ; William Troost-Ekong, alias "Rock of Gibralter", centre-half back and " Commander-General" Leon Balogun, left-half back. Leon Balogun , scored the opening goal and William Troost-Ekong, gave the low cross that resulted in the second goal. Chidozie Awaziem, gave the lobbed pass that resulted in the first goal for Nigeria. Together they had a solid game!

The five-man mid-field, consisted of: Frank Onyeka, right-sided defensive mid-fielder, or right-sided wing back. Jamilu Collins, left-sided defensive mid-fielder, or left-sided wing back; he also had to double as "pseudo left winger " or left-sided wing offensive mid-fielder, to bring width to the left side of the Super Eagles' offensive forays. They both had a good game.

The supersonic jet-heeled Skipper Ahmed "Mansa" Musa, played as a central cum creative mid-fielder. Considering his gradual diminishing returns as a player, occasioned by his years of service, Coach Rohr, has cleverly, found a role for him in the Super Eagles set-up, where his wealth of talent and experience would still be of use to the Super Eagles. He put up a good show.

The "highly dynamic", Joseph Ayodele Aribo, compared to the first match, was much more efficient as central/ creative mid-fielder. Apparently, he heard the veiled criticism of Coach Rohr of his performance in the first match, where the coach lamented the absence of creativity in the Super Eagles' midfield. In the return leg, he helped create the second goal for the Super Eagles. And also gave the vital lobbed pass to Victor Oshimen, that would have resulted in the third goal, if not for the intervention of the Central African defender!

Simon Moses, alias "The Atilogwu dancer," was at his efficient best, as right- sided, wing offensive mid-fielder. Kudos!

The twin strikers' combination of " the highly predacious" Kelechi Iheanacho and Victor Oshimen, alias "El Magnifico", were super! Victor Oshimen scored the second goal for Nigeria. And narrowly missed a third goal.

In conclusion, considering the outcome of the return leg, the result of the first leg can be considered a 'soccer accident', which is not abnormal.

However, with that and other experiences, the Super Eagles must keep their eyes firmly on the ball and their feet firmly on the ground, for the last round of the qualifiers in November. They cannot afford anymore slip-ups, as only the group's winners will advance to the final round of the Qatar 2022 World cup qualifiers, African zone. The Super Eagles in yours sincerely's considered opinion, are the best team in their group. They need to prove it, by winning their group, at the end of the November qualifiers. All this being equal, this expectation is achievable!


Also at the link below, one can come into contact with a number of items, needed to support the Super Eagles at "Cameroun 2021" !!!!!


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