• Features - Gossips
  • Updated: March 25, 2023

Nothing Super About Super Eagles

Nothing Super About Super Eagles

Yesterday's Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying match at the Moshood Abiola stadium in Abuja was an affirmation that there is nothing super about the Super Eagles of Nigeria. 

It was troubling, devastating and gutting to sit and watch the Eagles get beaten by the Wild Dogs of Guinea Bissau in their own backyard having had high expectations before kickoff. 

The team that lost 1-nil to Guinea Bissau after 90 minutes were only good on paper but lackadaisical on the field of play. 

Who would have thought that a team that had in attack in-form Napoli hitman Victor Osimhen, Atlanta's leading scorer Ademola Lookman and Leicester City's 'Mr FA Cup' Kelechi Iheanacho would fire blank against Guinea Bissau?

It was that bad, nay, very bad!

First thing off with the way Nigeria's male senior team played was their tactical play.

The route one tactics of coach Jose Peseiro was indeed a recipe for failure that evoked a horrible sense of déjà vu. 

Like the matches against Mexico, Ecuador and Portugal, the football style of the Portuguese coach only permitted the Eagles to focus on getting the ball into the opposition box as quickly as possible.

There was no build-up phase in the team's play which would have allowed the Eagles to gain an advantage over their opponents via numerical or positional superiority.

Hence, it became extremely difficult for Peseiro's men to move the opposition players out of position to break down their defence and find pockets of spaces after stretching the play in order to create goal scoring chances when in possession.

Also, the absence of top creative midfielders in the ranks of the squad led to the downfall of the Super Eagles.

Neither Alex Iwobi nor Wilfred Ndidi, who is more of a holding midfielder, offered any creative spark.

In particular, Iwobi who operates in the middle of the park with an attacking instinct struggled to bail out his side.

He could not, for instance, occupy more threatening spaces of the pitch to pick out a teammate with a pass, draw out defenders or enter the final third of the pitch and create goal scoring opportunities.

Suffice it to say, the Everton man proved highly ineffectual in that department as he failed to exert his authority or influence on the Eagles' opponent. 

Again, the lukewarm attitude of the matchday squad cost the Super Eagles three massive points.

They failed to play with vim and vigor, conceding a silly goal and not pushing themselves to turn the game on its head with their undeniable potential.

This has always been an albatross around their neck and like the proverbial dog destined to be lost because it doesn't hear the hunter's whistle, the Eagles under Peseiro have failed to take correction on several occasions.

One can't help but to wonder whether this is as a result of internal issues in the dressing room or the players having such an enormous ego that is larger than the national team?

In addition, poor preparation for the game against Guinea Bissau played a part in ensuring that the Eagles suffered a narrow but historic defeat. 

This writer finds it appalling that the 23 players invited for international duties by Peseiro had only two days before kickoff to train as a full squad, despite that the Eagles first official training session held on Monday, March 20 with only 11 players reportedly taking part in the session.

The reason stemmed from the fact that some players arrived in time while a few others arrived late for reasons best known to them.

Even worse, 21 players reportedly had to train in darkness for a while during Tuesday's training session which was scheduled by 6:00 pm.

The floodlights of the Moshood Abiola Stadium failed to come on when the main bowl was plunged into darkness, forcing Peseiro and his wards to abandon the session because his players struggled to train in the cover of darkness.

Matter of fact, this embarrassing and shameful incident was covered and reported by this media organ on Wednesday, March 22. 

Having X-rayed some fundamental issues that led to the Super Eagles poor outing in the first leg of their AFCON qualifying match against Guinea, it is germane to proffer solutions so as to rescue the Eagles' from being a shadow of itself. 

One. Peseiro must conceive a plan and strategy that will make the Eagles play with organisation, discipline, confidence, flair and panache.

Mother luck was not what earned Nigeria the reputation of being a football nation.

It is as a result of a deliberate scheme that Nigeria won her first African Cup of Nations, debuted at her first World Cup in 1994 and once rose in ranking to fifth in the world. 

Two. A central creator or a natural attacking midfielder is needed to give the team a higher chance of winning a game even before a ball is kicked.

The midfielder must possess a collection of skill sets that include dribbling, picking the runs of teammates, ball rotation, creating goal scoring chances and scoring goals in some games.

Jay-Jay Okocha comes to mind here as the perfect No. 10 before he retired in 2006 and left a void in that department; but regardless, Nigeria is blessed with an endless pool of talent waiting to be discovered and invested in.

Three. Home-based players that are hungry for glory should also be given the opportunity to play for the national team so as to create a right balance between Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) stars and their colleagues based abroad.

If properly infused with foreign-based players, the home-based Eagles with their dedication, commitment and passion will rid the national team of the lacklustre attitude that pervades the ecosystem.

Little wonder that the late Stephen Keshi made the bold move of picking six NPFL players in his final 23-man squad to South Africa in 2013.

That decision paid off brilliantly as all of them – bar goalkeeper Chigozie Agbim – earned minutes and played crucial roles with Sunday Mba netting winners in the AFCON quarter-finals and final.

Four. In terms of preparations, players invited to represent Nigeria should learn to prioritise international duties and the coach should deem it fit to have home-based players in the team because of the advantage of having more time to play as a team and blend perfectly before any regional or global football tournament.

More so, Nigeria football officials should put infrastructure in place to best prepare the Super Eagles.

There would be no progress without an ecosystem that encompasses sports facilities, experienced administrators, officials, scouts, agents and doctors who can drive the overall advancement of the national team while incorporating modern techniques and technologies. 

Related Topics

Join our Telegram platform to get news update Join Now

0 Comment(s)

See this post in...


We have selected third parties to use cookies for technical purposes as specified in the Cookie Policy. Use the “Accept All” button to consent or “Customize” button to set your cookie tracking settings