Thursday, January 24, 2008

How We Can Overcome Mali


Group B is getting more and more difficult, surpassing predictions. This is the widely acclaimed ‘Group of death’ and at inception not many will include Benin among teams to be taken seriously. After the First round of matches, what we have seen shows that even Benin are no pushovers.

The ‘Group of death’ is surely living up to its name.

So far only two goals have been scored among the four teams an indication of the difficulty of the situation.

The super Eagles are sure up against a difficult task. Unfortunately the only option is to win the next two games starting with the one that comes up tomorrow against Mali. The Malians are reputed to possess the best Midfield resources in this championship a sharp contrast with the Super Eagles.

Surprisingly despite Tuesday’s defeat, Nigerians still believe the cup is ours. It will be strange if Nigeria fail to qualify from the group stage. Many Nigerians don’t see it happening so much that we are still thinking of winning the title. We know that to win this cup, we first must qualify from the group stage and then get to the final with a great likelihood of locking horns with the Ivoirians again. Yet we know we can get there.

Everyone back home is disappointed that we lost but no one is particularly bitter with the way we played. It was just that we failed to have luck on our side. Forget Berti Vogts’ comment that ‘Nigeria lost to the best team on the continent’. We the fans don’t think so. We believe our team has all it takes to win this Cup and so Vogts should get into action rather than talk like a loser. He should revert to our natural wing football. I insist Vogts doesn’t understand Nigerian football. He had the resources but he failed to use them properly.

Before Vogts released his 23-man squad I made an analysis naming the players I expect to see in the first eleven. It turned out every player I had expected to make the team did. But Vogts is failing to deploy his resources accordingly afterwards. Like I had said some of the players he named as strikers are the people who can salvage our midfield. We saw what happened when Osaze was introduced. Others are Kanu Nwankwo and John Utaka. This three with Mikel can put our midfield in the right state with Utaka on the right flank and Osaze from the left flank, while Mikel and Kanu can play from the middle with Mikel behind Kanu. This is a midfield that can not be cracked. Then allow Martins and Ike Uche/Yakubu do their thing up front. Instead Vogts opted for Kanu as a striker behind Yakubu with Martins on the left flank. We haven’t seen what martins can do from that position and this is not the right place to try it out. We have Osaze who has done it before from there and should be deployed appropriately.

Emmanuel Ekanem Is the Admin of Naija Football Fans Forum , .

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