GHANA 2008...The Rhetorics...!!!
Super Eagles Become Super Vultures Nigeria relinquished the Cup of Nation against Mali in a crucial tie on Thursday by failing to win when it mattered the most.
It was indeed the worst performance of Nigeria since the introduction of this cup. Nigeria missed key Kanu through injury, but also lacked preparation and were unable to match Malian's skill, mental strength and desire. For Mali, salvaging the pointwas a matter of personal and national pride which the Super Eagles couldn't match.
Nigeria is a powerhouse in African football and the national side is ranked number one in the African continent. But after the performance, the status has diminished and rightly so the Super Eagles turned to ordinary vultures. In order to win this the match, they needed fire-power, and star studded players had to perform. The defence wasn't up to much either, but these were the two main areas of failure. Nigerian strikers failed to find the net in the second consecutive game, and Yakubu didnt look like the Yakubu we see in Premier League every week.
In the last fifteen minutes, they showed their desperation to break the deadlock. For this, everyone moved forward and tried their best to beat the ticking clock. But desperation and panic is not the way game is played. Tournament football needs clear cut plans and strategies are made in order to cope with situations like this. When such designs exist, they produces fruitful results. For Nigeria, there were no team work and nobody was ready to take the lead, and no plan was forthcoming.
The heat was another factor in the poor scoreline, and in some ways an avoidable one. Nigerian, they were trained mostly in Nigeria and Spain which, will not cold countries, lacked the exact tournament conditions of Ghana. In
addition, they played their preparatory games with European countries instead playing with their continental fellows.
As if to show the lack of ideas in the Nigerian camp, Jon Mikel Obi expressed his nervousness when he was interviewed after the match. When asked about Nigerias chances, his first reaction was, I dont know. When asked about Kanus absence, again it was, I dont know.
I personally like the way Mali came into this match. They made every effort to snatch the point, and this they did. Mali were more dangerous and difficult than Nigeria - even though in some areas their squad is weaker. They hit the targets well and were pushing very hard from start to finish.
Nigeria, on the other hand, scarcely earned the tag Super Eagles. Once upon a time they were called that, because in many ways they resembled one, hunting in destructive packs. But after this defeat, Nigeria must adapt to a diet of dead animals as would vultures. Their fate lies in the hands of Ivory Coast, in that they need the Ivorians to kill Mali's chances. Having to rely on results elsewhere is hardly becoming of an eagle.
Nigeria have one of the best strike forces in Africa and they have lot of talent but when it comes to backroom coaching, yet the squad does not work as it should. Its not about players, its not about coaches, its about football administration and Nigerian have to put their administration in order. That will see an effect that works its way down from management to players, and finally result in some teamplay.
With World Cup 2010 not too far away, Nigeria is a force to whom the continent will look for success. But with this sort of performance, expectations will be lowered significantly.
The future of Nigerian football seems to be very bleak. I take pity on Nigerian supporters.