Bosso Bullish After Bulldozing Battered Black Starlets


Nigeria Coach Ladan Bosso continues to emit much confidence in the wake of his Flying Eagles' morale boosting win against noisy neighbours Ghana in their first game of the ongoing Wafu B competition.


A deceptive curling long ball from right midfield met the well timed run of Ibrahim Muhammad who stole behind Ghana's defensive wall to round the on-rushing hapless goalkeeper before slamming home from about 16 yards for Nigeria's first goal in just 5 minutes.


Then Ahmed Abdullahi's force of physicality saw him plough through a body of Ghanaian defenders into their 18 yard box before displaying erudite football intellect in crashing the net with a goal of deluxe quality.


2:0 it ended, much to the delight and relief of Nigeria fans who would have been left disconsolate about successive losses to Ghana following World Cup qualification heartache.


While the African-Ghanaian coach elected to lick his wounds by blaming the African weather for their comprehensive dismantling, a more composed and confident Bosso said with gusto: "we deserve our three points. The boys played to instructions and made the entire nation proud. We are on course, we are focused ahead of the next game."


That said, Bosso cannot afford to be complacent. The problem with indigenous Nigerian coaches at times is that they start very well only to lose steam and run out of ideas very quickly.


At this stage, it is too early for me to feel invested in what Coach Bosso is doing. That said, a winning start against garrulous Ghana is definitely a beautiful feather on his coaching cap.


Based on how the team played yesterday, it is tricky to speculate how far his Flying Eagles will go in this tournament because there were some issues with his approach.


Playing a 4-2-3-1 formation (with the number 7 right winger operating a little bit deep), the formation would morph into 4-3-3 or 4-1-1-3-1 in-game.


But the Flying Eagles aren't always disciplined and organised enough to maintain the structure and shape with synergy. The centre backs come out too quickly while there is always the danger of one of the fullbacks inadvertently keeping opposition strikers onside.


That said, Nigeria's defenders did show decent grit and application to keep Ghana at bay long enough to earn the clean sheet. They however looked suspect when defending corners and they had to rely on last ditch defendings at times.


The strikers at times take one touch too many in key areas thereby wasting opportunities needlessly. Their long shots only tended to trouble the Niger Republic air traffic controllers.


However, I was again impressed by the variety of ways in which they orchestrated goals scoring opportunities. They would play it out from the back with neat give-and-goes and then work the ball on grass methodically towards opposing areas.


On occasions, they employed long balls and route one strategy. They attempted several long range shots, something that is a staple of Bosso's approach. Playing from the back (starting with the goalkeeper who displayed decent distributions) is similar to how clubs in top European leagues try to play these days. This is something different and fresh that Bosso is trying to inject into the team which shows how in tune he is with modern football tactics.


But in truth, I only hope that the Flying Eagles can get better. Their play can do with more fluency, cohesion and coherence. They also require more creativity and versatility.


They are yet to look like a tournament winning squad but the building blocks are there. The signs are there that they can be better.


How Bosso and his boys approach and prosecute the next match is against Burkina Faso will provide more insight on their tournament winning potentials.


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