AFCON 2019: Thumbs Up for Nigeria / Egypt Proposed Friendly

By Victor Enyinnaya on December 24, 2018

Views: 408

I have decided to give deaf ears to those armchair critics who of course I have described often on this page as idlers of the first order. If you read us last week, I did a harmless article on the loud-mouthed Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung who chooses to talk on the drop of a hat; who talks at random especially with the wrong audience simply because he wants to get at certain people and at the end of the day he succeeds in saying nothing and then forgetting nothing.

No apologies; I still insist that he does not know how to talk and this has drastically reduced him to, not only as a dried dramatist but got him the notorious name as the worst performing Sports Minister. Those of his attacking dogs should better go and find some part-time or full-time job than this because time is fast ticking for him.

This is second to the last edition for this critical but exciting column for the year 2018. It has had its fair share of ups and downs, via wide betrayals, fair and very unfair tackles by those that did not like the face of the columnist or are not comfortable with his blunt but fair commentaries on issues affecting or football, administrators and sundry. As a stallion, we have kept the faith with your very dear readers who have shown more faith urging me on to drive more appetite to do this week in week out. Thanks for being there. The column gets better and more fans that is readers every week. The records are there.

This week, we will look at more than one issue as we discuss along. The incoming year 2019 holds a lot for Nigerian football like the Africa Cup of Nations, Golden Eaglets, Nigeria Premier League commencement among others. The Nigeria Football Federation seems not to take anything for a chance as it has secured a grade A friendly game to tune up the Super Eagles for the premier continental football summit. The game will be played against Egypt in March 2019. Such a step is laudable as it would not only strengthen the Eagles but would also help to bring out the mistakes and weak areas still inherent in the Eagles.

One hopes that more of grade A games would be organised for the team so that the technical crew will be at liberty to assess all the departments and harness the potentials in the team and individual players and knock them together. Nigerians would be looking forward to the Eagles to win.  

From what angle you may be looking at it, there seems to be anticipated a hard time ahead for the team and the only way out would be serious preparations toward the tournament that looks tougher ahead.  However, one believes that with deep planning, focus, zeal etc our preparations would be smooth but concentrated if Nigeria would make headway in the forthcoming AFCON showdown.

As Eagles get set to take on Egypt for a friendly cracker, all hands must be on deck to take the bull by the horns and take every bit of the friendlies headlong. The materials are there and with the new and experience would be on display as a team. It is one task that should be accomplished if the new technical hand must be taken seriously after the tournament.

The draw for Golden Eaglets CAF Champ in Tanzania is out. Nigeria is in group A with the host country. You may on paper see the group as easy but to me it is rather difficult because playing a host country in any tournament of any kind remains no mean job all over the world because of the intrigues that accompany the host country’s team that must at least qualify from the group or even up to quarter-final stage in some cases. 

 Again, the former World champs will also be battling the nuisance called minnows also in group A. The (minnows) are worst than playing known opponents as these lesser boys or teams can cause upsets.  That will be some of the lots the Golden Eaglets must contend with though it has experience and also pedigree for the summit. Football has proved handsomely over these years not to be mathematics. That would or may serve as a lesson for the Nigerians as we set to square up against their more tricky opponents.

The Eaglets will come up stronger that would enable them to come out tops when the chips are down. The other day, the Nigeria Football Federation charged the League Management Company to ensure the season kicks off January 13. It remains heartwarming judging from how the just out gone season was forced to a close due to many avoidable factors that resulted from administrative lapses.

The early start would give room to make adjustments for issues that may arise. It is the belief of this column that LMC must brace up and ensure that the date would be strictly adhered to. Every move must be taken to make the kick off of the new league season possible. We must also ensure that the league is closely monitored to give room for a proper and excellent performance by teams. For the Daily Sports crew, let the game begin. Congratulations to Nigeria’s representatives in this year’s CAF Champions League, Lobi FC of Makurdi for qualifying for the group stages of the competition. The work has just begun. The management and players of the team must be up and doing because this stage is where you know the depth of a team. It won’t be easy but the well prepared would triumph.

I have watched Lobi and would say the team has a good squad that would not be found wanting at any given time no matter the level of the opposition, however, hard work pays and so that would help the team to put her house in order. The teams in the group stages are no pushovers and so only the fittest would be there standing.

As our tradition goes, we will give kudos where necessary and knocks likewise too. The bottom line is that adequate preparations must be put in place and the technical crew must endeavour to look inwards and think out of the box too because of the nature of this championship. Only Enyimba International has been able to clinch it twice. Lobi has a team that can withstand the heat and give Nigerians this day. It is doable through depth planning and funding too. Prudent management of the resources would enable prompt payment of the players’ dues and salaries and others.

As we keep our fingers crossed, let the rest be discussed in our social media handles of Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Good luck to our teams as they engage in their various preparations. Keep shooting hard, till next week!! 

Source Daily Sports

Posted December 24, 2018


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