AFCON 2019: WHY Super Eagles Lost Badly In Uyo
By Dada Michaels
NIGERIA’S Super Eagles went into Saturday’s AFCON 2019 qualifying match with a chip on their shoulders.
The players and coach no doubt had written off the Bafana Bafana side before the encounter, perhaps based on thever lost to the Southern African side in any competitive match in football history. That was our Eagles’ undoing.
And based on this, Eagles’ coach, Gernot Rohr assembled a makeshift team to face its opponent believing on some ancient tradition.
So, the Eagles were sucker punched in front of home crowd, a humiliating defeat the national team suffered last in the hands of Congo in Port Harcourt, Rivers State under late Stephen Keshi years ago.
Rohr built a team based on the players that were available to him, but what he failed to do was build a formidable squad that would compete favourably with its opponent. The Nigeria Football Federation, NFF refused to reconcile issues with Victor Moses who is nursing a long grudge over some amount of monies owed him that he used in paying his way for national assignments over a period of time. They were so confident the ‘boys’ they had in camp would do the job, perhaps because they defeated Togo 3-0 and drew 1-1 with Corsica in two friendlies some couple of days before Saturday’s game. Moses would have been the game changer in the match because washed out Elderson Echejile and Ogenyi Onazi (who sadly is captain instead of an Ahmed Musa) were just in the game to make up the numbers.
MIKEL OBI ANGLE
Since Nigeria’s captain, Mikel Obi left Chelsea of England for his Chinese club, he has been out of play due to injury. Mikel’s presence was badly felt in the midfield area that an Onazi who had no business in Uyo tried to fill, unsuccessfully.
Our Super Eagles still needs the services of veterans like Obafemi Martins, Uche Ikechukwu, Victor Anichebe and other professionals that the NFF had allegedly used their corrupt attitude under different coaches in the past to chase away; players who are still active in the game of football for various clubs all over the world; to blend with the new team Rohr is trying to build.
South Africa have exposed this Super Eagles team as one that lacks depth; they have been riding on pure luck. So, this is the time for Rohr to dust his books and build the REAL eagles we all desire.
Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi are not ripe to be the arrow head of our attack. These are boys who are struggling to make first team in Manchester City and Arsenal clubs respectively. Alex Iwobi was recently demoted to Arsenal Under 20 by coach, Arsene Wenger, while Iheanacho has not seen any playing time at City in months. Why? Because the coaches feel they are not mature enough to play. So how come we make these two youngsters the arrow head of the attack of the national team of a country like Nigeria?
If the NFF officials are not a bunch of very unserious people, they should by now be eyeing two Nigerians in the team of England Under 20 at the just concluded FIFA Under 20 World Cup. There are two Nigerians, Ojo and Solanke that the entire team was built around, and they have delivered. But trust my NFF, they will wait till England snatch the boys for their senior team just as they waited till England snatched Dele Alli after John Fashanu first made contact with the young man to come play for fatherland.
With this present Super Eagles, we have no hope of qualifying for Russia 2018 despite being top of the group with six points with Algeria and Cameroun to play away and Zambia and Cameroun at home.
We need to do something about this team and fast too.