AFCON 2024: Jose Peseiro And His Super Eagles, Any Hope?

By Victor Enyinnaya on January 1, 2024

Daily Sports team wishes our numerous loyal readers and advertisers all the best this 2024, the year of our Lord Jesus Christ. It will be well with us despite the unpredictability of the unstable Nigerian political ship. We still solicit for your unalloyed advert support and followership this year.  

Yes, 2024 is Africa Cup of Nations year and it will be holding in Cote D’ Ivoire later this Month. All the countries that qualified for the biannual continental football summit have been making last minutes preparations of dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s.

However, Nigeria will be our focus this week as we highlight her preparations towards much anticipated one stop performance in the tournament.

As usual, the media of all sorts are already awashed with Nigeria’s this or that pedigree in the AFCON history. The issue about Nigeria and AFCON 2024 is on, trust not without the usual controversy of the raging argument and counter argument what the Super Eagles output at the forthcoming Nations Cup finals hold for her. In short, expectations are high but not for incurable optimists like this columnist.

Of truth is that football is a pure practical sport and is not played on paper or through advocacy. All actions take place on the pitch so no half measures/nearly for any team that eyes victory. Such team (s) must redouble their effort (s) backing itself up solidly with sound technical depth and responsive line up.

Oftentimes, it has nothing to do with the population of a country; rather it often goes with how well one prepares for a tournament.  Nigeria’s usual way of preparations are on. All manners of characters are at “work” on the scene and endorsed by one government agency or the other masquerading, drumming what they termed one support or the other. Mark you, not without the usual eye service and pretence of all motion and no movement.

These quasi support groups are smiling to the banks for their personal and sponsors’ benefits. It has come to gain ground in every AFCON and even World Cup year, when the country qualifies.  I attended one of such events the other time and disappointedly saw  individuals you ordinarily would believe vehemently are patriots deeply involved, then you will weep for this once upon a time beloved country.

It came to further confirm that everything about this country is fraud without any prejudice whatsoever. These men were there to drum support for their stooges to make the stage managed deal look real or credible in the eyes of many unsuspecting corporate sponsoring bodies and wealthy individuals who take advantage of the wide mileage of AFCON to advertise their goods and services.  

This is the trend Nigeria has come to live with of late.  And that is the way we are.  Nigeria leaves what are in the eyes to sleep.  It is saying the obvious that Nigeria usually plans to effectively counter earthquake geologists have predicted about / been warning of its dare consequential effects at its eve. In short, Nigeria is used to fire brigade approach in all preparations.

We knew that supporters do not play ball on the field. They only ginger players or teams that prepared adequately well, then the impetus to excel and not paper tiger like what Nigeria’s Super Eagles squad represents.  All sorts of advocacy are on in the name of urging the Super Eagles to perform. But there’s no amount of magic that can aid any ill- prepared clay footed team to perform, even the famous Danman miracle of coach Tunde Disu’s Flying Eagles of 1989 showed lots of determination, zeal, diligence and focus.

It is obvious that Nigeria cannot boast of sound technical bench and quality players to prosecute the impending tedious task ahead in Cote D’ Ivoire.

Incidentally, Nigeria is drawn in the same group with host nation, Cote D’ Ivoire and so the setting looks dicey from start and only the prepared would get on decisively. The kind of technical bench and players released last week by Jose Peseiro look frightening and worrisome to behold.

It would be recalled that the list has eight (8) new players to a first rate tournament of AFCON status.  The first indicator is here already. However, this columnist has fixed his mind set on whatever that comes from the Nigerian team.  It is not time to expect so much on that rag-tagged team to Ivory Coast AFCON 2024.

NFF and its agents home and abroad would smile at the end of the day and life goes on. There is nothing concrete on ground to place one’s trust on the feather weight team like the one Jose Peseiro who has no track records just assembled.

As Mikel Obi recently declared, every team that qualified for the championship has chance and there are teams their chances of lifting the trophy are brighter, that was like stating the obvious and must serve as an alarm bell for Nigeria before the kick-off.   It goes beyond encouraging and stage managing this advocacy, to draw support for the team. The round leather game is strictly played in field. Yes, there are political angles to it, but you must have team that can hold it’s own against all odds

Such scenario came into play in 2013 at South Africa, when the Super Eagles won the third trophy for the country.  We saw determination and urge from the then late Stephen Keshi’s led technical bench down to the entire team. In one of those numerous functions I attended, both team captain, Joseph Yobo and the Assistant Coach of that victorious team, Daniel Amokachi revealed the secret of that squad, according to them, despite the intensive pressure from the then Amaju Pinnick’s led NFF on Keshi technical crew, the key actors agreed that what played pivotal role for their success was the focus and leadership Keshi provided from the technical background and the others from the captain of the team, Yobo and his assistant Musa. Recall that the team was made up wholly with rookies, Keshi’s magical leadership qualities saved them from Amaju’s planned sledge hammer for the technical crew.

However, having said all these above, there may still be probability for success as football is said not to be mathematics

The question then is, does this Eagles team has the clout both in the technical crew and players?  Time they said will tell. Keep shooting hard till next week. Meanwhile we wait!!


Source Daily Sports Nigeria

Posted January 1, 2024


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