Sport

All cannot be said to be well with the Super Eagles in the
goalkeeping area. Ever since Vincent Enyeama retired and Carl
Ikeme went down with leukemia, the hunt for a new goalkeeper
has not been successful.

The whole world is just recovering from the shock when Marcos, the
mystic pig picked the Super Eagles as semifinal candidates at the
World Cup. It has been said that Marcos has so far not got any
prediction wrong, but in choosing the Super eagles, it looks like it is
about to lose its reputation. Here are five reasons:

NO ASSURANCE IN GOAL
All cannot be said to be well with the Super Eagles in the goalkeeping
area. Ever since Vincent Enyeama retired and Carl Ikeme went down
with leukemia, the hunt for a new goalkeeper has not been successful.
Even though Ikechukwu Ezenwa put up strong performances in World
Cup qualifying, it seems Coach Gernot Rohr is uncomfortable with the
home-based goalkeeper and has reposed faith in Deportivo La
Coruna’s reserve goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho.

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Uzoho kept in all the Eagles warm-up games and has not been
convincing. Though with a big frame, the youngster still lacks the
confidence required at the big stage. The World cup is where teams put
out their best legs, not experiment. The defence has shown how solid
and resolute it can be, especially during the qualifying process, but the
inexperience in the goalkeeping department might just do them in.
Our group D opponents would probably have noticed this and will be
hoping to explore this palpable weakness.

LACK OF CREATIVE DEPTH, POOR PASSING AND SLOW SWITCH IN
PLAY
Not much can be said of the Super Eagles’ passing and play-switch
ability. As witnessed in most of our warm-up matches, the team finds
it difficult to string passes together and most times relies on long balls
forward and running with the ball. Only Captain Mikel Obi can be said
to be a good passer of the ball and most times, even he finds it difficult
to dictate play especially, against sides with technical depth.
The lack of creativity in the midfield will make it very hard to link with
the attackers, and even through the flank, which seems our best bet,
the final ball still seems to be a very big problem.
The only hope of delivering the final ball lies in the runs of Victor Moses,
Ahmed Musa and Alex Iwobi and if the opponents do well to mark them
out, it means nothing can be expected from the team. With only one
pattern of play, it is a problem for a team that has Argentina and
Croatia to contend with. Marcus might be a mystic, but this is not
volleyball; you need to pass to get goals.

INABILITY TO SCORE
Robert Lewandowski just got a postal card bearing his name and
number; this is no mean feat; it is due to years of finding the net
consecutively. Argentina are so confident of their strike force that they
dropped the highest goalscorer in the Italian Serie A. The likes of Luis
Suarez, Edinson Cavani, Antoinne Griezman can wreak havoc on any
defence in the world, let alone Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi who
seem from another planet.
From recent performances, the Super Eagles attack doesn’t look potent
enough. Star striker Odion Ighalo has not shown much promise and
even Kelechi Iheanacho has not been really convincing. If the Eagles
have not been able to make the most of lesser known defenders they
have faced thus far, not much should be expected from them when they
face the likes of Dejan Lovren, Nicholas Otamendi and Javier
Mascherano. No team succeeds in the game of football without goals.

NO TALISMAN
The Super eagles do not have a talisman. There is a lot of individuality
in the squad that no one man can be said to be a leader. “We don’t
know much about the Nigerian team,” was the word of Lionel Messi
when quizzed about their Group D opponents. This shows the level and
depth of our players, compared to the other teams. Mikel seems the
only true leader in the team but everyone knows he is no longer at the
peak and is on holidays in most games. The individuality of players like
Victor Moses, Alex Iwobi, and Ahmed Musa can really help the team but
when the occasion calls, there is really no go-to person to take
responsibility and dictate the pace and tempo of a game.
There is no standout star in the team. While football is a collective
sport, individuals sometimes carry the team on their shoulders, a
feature lacking in our team. Even the collective effort is missing!

DISORGANISATION AND LACK OF COHESION
The current setup of the Super Eagles ahead of the World cup is not
looking good. Most of the players play without a script or knowledge of
what to do next. In the game of football, it is plain to see teams play to
a particular pattern. Top teams like Brazil, Spain, and Germany all have
a style of play and every player in the team understands at least the
basics of this style but this is clearly missing in the Super eagles. There
is no link and rhythm in the style of play, as evident in the friendlies and
qualifiers. The team does not seem to play with each other, there is a
lack of basic understanding and cohesion in this team.
This disorganisation can be an advantage though, as it can help
disorganize other teams too, as observed by Argentine defender Javier
Mascherano. Organisation and cohesion can take even the least
talented team far enough, a la the Greek team of Euro 2004, and lack of
it can be the bete noire of the most talented team.

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