2018 World Cup: What hope for Super Eagles?

By Daily Sports on June 18, 2018

Views: 4,807

The biggest and most cherished sport in the World, football kicked off June 14, 2018 in Russia. Already the shocking results have started turning in. I won’t border you dear readers with the results.

Nigeria is in my heart and the result we posted against Croatia was something to worry about for our opening game. To this reporter, everything went wrong in that encounter. Let’s be honest with you that from the look of things the match was won and lost from the bench and the players.

From my personal observation, Eagles lost the game against Croatia purely due to inexperience. Super Eagles after the initial resistance that brought some glimmer of hope to her fans sadly crumbled 2-0 to the highly experienced Croatian side.  It is now past and on that, Nigeria for the first time in her sojourn in the World Cup lost her first game.

Many would posit that they saw it coming. They further agreed that the signs were there before the kick-off of the summit. The Nigerian side is made of younger players who are just cutting their teeth in football’s biggest stage – the World Cup.

It showed glaringly and when the likes of Mikel John Obi, Victor Moses, etc, failed to get it right, it was obvious that the entire squad would begin to struggle. It was a sad tale that saw the Nigerian side as shadow of itself. I don’t know about you, but for me I saw a colourless Eagles team on parade against Croatia. Yes it is past tense and so must be dumped into the refuse bin of history and look forward to next opponents.

Let’s be honest with you that even in 2002 when the country presented yet another sorry sight team, it was not as bad as we saw during our group D opening game against Croatia.

The unpardonable mistakes from our players cost us the match. True that all these came off as a result of being under undue pressure from our opponent, again inexperience contributed in no smaller measure to give us out to our opponents who gained confidence as the game progressed.

They saw Nigerian side as being clay footed. They also noticed that the experienced among them were not in the game that fateful day and then ran riot around our vital area and tried the ability of our younger teenage goalkeeper Uzoho who showed some good measure of an overcomer. This is a very younger player that is supposed to be given adequate coverage from the more experienced and rampaging Croatians.

Truth is that Nigeria is under pressure. Nigeria is also on the verge of being eliminated from the ongoing World Cup showpiece. Fact is that from the look of things, Nigeria may not survive the frays of Argentine side. The North American team is one of the most experienced team there in Russia. Most of her players are World class. Aside Messi, there are several others that can turn around any difficult game to their favour.

This is not being pessimistic; the Nigerian squad I saw against Croatia cannot withstand the worst from Lionel Messi gang. The Argentine team is like wounded lion and would play just that way. The big question on the lips of many football pundits are can Nigeria absorb the anticipated fire works the Messi led team would unleash on the Super Eagles. The horizon is cloudy for Nigeria at the ongoing World Cup. There is no two words about it, the team l watched against Croatia needs the head coach to improve upon its performance otherwise we will fall badly against highly rated Argentine side that would like wounded lions show the Eagles pepper.

You can vividly read my mood on this article. I’m a good sports man having covered the World Cup three times in US 1994, Korea/Japan 2002 and Brazil 2014. I have been there wearing the tighter shoes. I never expected much from this young team in Russia. What I did expect is the kind of result it posted against Croatia. The kind of mistakes that we saw in her pre-World Cup friendly match against England repeated itself often in that better forgotten game against Croatia.

I was forced to ask whether the technical crew watched the video clip (s) of that friendly. It leaves sour taste in the mouth. Most of the Eagles players will be better and matured players when the World Cup train berths in UAE in 2022 if we qualify.

The Nigerian team in my humble observation is not ready for the ongoing tournament. It is partly their fault but mostly that of the administrators of the game that have failed woefully to be upbeat about the sport. They have paid more attention and also given quality time to sentiments and gossips that retards the game.

The chances of Super Eagles surviving possible elimination from this early stage are slim. Argentina and Iceland are no push overs. Nigeria is last in the Group D. Fans are scandalised. But I saw it coming. Though nothing is impossible in the game but a team like Argentina won’t give in again. They are poised to redeem itself in the next games against Nigeria and Croatia. Only the kind of football miracle Nigeria recorded at the U-20 level in 1989 in Daman Saudi Arabia would save the Super Eagles to stay a day, minute and seconds in Russia after its second match.

What is happening in our football today is a sign or hand of fraud. It would continue until all the wrongs are rewritten and apologies tendered to the people concerned. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not blaming any individual or group for this decline but it is a collective failure which must be corrected if there must be very meaningful progress in our football cum sports. Period.

Let us anchor here this week and resort to our social media handles for discussion. Meanwhile keep shooting hard, till next week!!

Source Daily Sports

Posted June 18, 2018

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