Thursday, November 20, 2008

Did Amodu Shuaibu Fail His First Real Test? : Columbia1-0 Nigeria

Within 24 hours Nigeria's football teams, male and female put out an uninspiring display in Cali, Columbia and Malabo, Equitorial Guinea respectively. Well the Falcons are in danger of not qualifying from the tournament's group stages for the first time. For the falcons, commentators across the country have given several reasons why the Falcons have played two games against Ghana and Tunisia and garnered just 2 points. They now must win against a well poised South African team who defeated Ghana 2-1. Whether that is possible is yet to be seen.

In Far away Cali, Columbia, a more appalling situation occurred, though it was a friendly match, it was enough to show that as usual we are set for failure to qualify for the world cup, and if we do qualify,it may be just another charade of just showing up to be counted in the world cup without any genuine intentions to create an impact. That will be true if we continue the way it is currently. Yes, we missed some players but when i saw the line up, it was actually a 'strong' team that set out to play in Cali. With the likes of Austin Ejide, Onyekachi Apam, Danni Shittu, Taye Taiwo, Christian Obodo, Sanni Keita, Solomon Okoronkwo, Chinedu Ogbuche, Ikechukwu Uche, Uche Kalu, Kanu Nwankwo, Obina Nsofor, Yakubu Ayegbeni all featuring, the technical crew probably has no excuse as far as availability of players is concerned. Nigeria is such a big football nation that, the absence of John Mikel Obi, Joseph Yobo, Obafemi Martins, Osaze and Vincent Enyeama alone should be insignificant.

For the entire duration of 90 minutes i think the super Eagles was at the receiving end. If anyone has a contrary opinion, it could be that i was watching a different game. I set the alarm on my Nokia E61 phone to wake me up at exactly 3.00 am and as expected it didn't fail me(i was sure its traditional 70s ring tone will wake me up). The reason i was so determined to watch this game was so i can have a fair idea and opportunity to give the players and technical crew an unbiased judgement. The team's performance this morning was far below average. They played with no aggression to win and sparingly troubled the Columbian goalie. Whereas Austin Ejide was called to action from the start to finish and i must say that he made some silly mistakes but who wouldn't under that amount of consistent pressure from an obviously superior Columbians.The fact that the score line stayed that low was mostly due to his heroics at goal; I think the players did all they could especially in defence where Danny Shittu and Nwaneri were never allowed a moment of rest as Camilla kept probing centrally.

For some reasons the midfield just didn't click and even when Nsofor tries to make a run along the lines, such runs always ended abruptly probably due to lack of ideas as none seems to be coming off the bench. Nwankwo Kanu was thoroughly marked and kept quiet for 90 minutes.

A more disgraceful event was Sanni Keita's sending off as the team and the entire bench protested what i think was a beautiful goal scored by the Columbians- a well deserved one- it was just a matter of time. I was really surprised! They all protested so vehemently i started doubting what i saw despite watching four replays of that goal. AIT wasn't very clear on my TV so I hope to have a fifth look at that goal. They just might be right but even if they were and the game ended goalless, we have seen enough already to know that the technical crew has nothing to offer Nigerians

We have been celebrating wins against teams like Uganda, south Africa and Equitorial Guinea and for me, this was Amodu's first real test. Who isn't doing something right, Amodu, NFF or the Players? Definitely not the players!

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