Friday, November 3, 2018
[email protected]
ours sincerely knew the match against the "Cranes" of Uganda, wasn't going to be easy. The Ugandans have always proved to be a hard nut to crack for Nigeria, both at club and national team levels. A few examples would buttress this fact:

In the AFCON competition of 1978, the Super Eagles of Nigeria, lost to the then unfancied "Cranes" of Uganda, in the semi-finals of the tournament. Philip Omondi scored the two goals, in the 2-1 victory over Nigeria. Details of the match are chronicled in my book:" Super Eagles of Nigeria: Pride of Africa", which reference is at the end of this article.

In the 1978 edition of the "African cup of champions" competition, the precursor of the present day "African Champions' league", the" Kampala City council" or "KCC" football club of Uganda, held the 'almighty' Rangers International football club of Enugu, to ransom, in Lagos, Nigeria, in the first leg of the quarter-finals of the above-mentioned competition. The Ugandans led 1-0, at half time! My senior brother, with whom I followed the radio commentaries then, shouted in exasperation, when the Ugandans scored the goal! In the second half, however, it took the characteristic determination and doggedness of the Rangers, to subdue the stubborn Ugandans. In that match, Adokiye Amesimaka profiled himself to be a player of stature for the Rangers. He ran rings around the Ugandan defenders in the second half. He played a big role in the turnaround of the Rangers' fortune in the second half. Nnamdi Nwokocha, alias "Camel", scored two goals that day; while then Skipper Christian Chukwu, scored from a free kick, after Adokiye Amesimaka, was brought down at the edge of the Ugandan penalty box, during one of his mesmerising runs in the Ugandan territory .

The Ugandans were narrowly defeated, 1-0, by Nigeria, at the "MKO Abiola" stadium, in Abeokuta, in 2007, in a 2008 AFCON qualifier; only for the Ugandans to turn things around in their country, with a 2-1 defeat of the Super Eagles of Nigeria. Details are chronicled in my book.

The Ugandan "Cranes" 'spoilt' the party in 2015, by defeating the Super Eagles, 1-0, at the centenary appearance of Goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, for the Super Eagles of Nigeria, in Uyo, Nigeria; as well as the occasion of the first international match of the Super Eagles, at the "Goodswill Akpabio" international stadium, Uyo.

Like as earlier stated, given the above-mentioned history, the Ugandans were certainly a well- chosen test for the Super Eagles of Nigeria, in the build up to the 2019 AFCON competition. Their present rating of number 67 in the world and- 17 in Africa, belies their true strength as a team.

The match certainly lived up to it's billing. Notwithstanding the scoreless outing, the fans were thoroughly entertained, with exciting offensive soccer, particularly from the Nigerians, who dominated the game. The Ugandans defended with man and might. It was clear from the way they played, that they were determined not to lose to the Super Eagles!

The Super Eagles could still have eked out a win, had they been more clinical in their finishing of the half chances that came their way.

Coach Rohr, apparently, as a mark of respect for the Ugandans, only used his quasi best players. He didn't risk using a home-based player.

One player who caught the fancy of yours sincerely, was the young man who plies his trade in Spain: Samuel Chukwueze. For the forty-five minutes he played, he was a constant torn in the flesh of the Ugandans: with his very confident dribbling runs, incisive passing ability, good ball vision, close and efficient ball control and overall exhibition of confidence and alacrity, on and off the ball! He showed no nerves for a player who made his debut! Considering his baggage of skills, would certainly be of use in the Super Eagles. He can be deployed as a winger, or as an offensive/ creative mid-fielder. Coach Rohr, apparently, has in his ranks, the addition of a very highly talented player, with lots of promise!

In conclusion, the major consequence of the Super Eagles' encounter with the Ugandans, is that the AFCON tournament of 2019, wouldn't be easy! This calls for early and efficient preparation by the Super Eagles of Nigeria. The timeline of the competition, gives the Super Eagles, ample time to fine tune their strategies. Happily the NFF and Coach Rohr, have gotten the message, as they apparently know what is at stake.


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


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