Atlanta 96 Gold medallist goalkeeper Joseph Dosu , 47 years old, has come out to say that the Super Eagles cannot afford to miss out on 2022 Afcon qualification citing apt team selection as one of the recipies of avoiding catastrophy.
Well Dosu is right: the Super Eagles as hell can ill-afford to miss out. What sort of message will failure to qualify send to the global football community? Nigeria will be a laughing stock and quite rightly so.
What, with all the time, effort and money expended in assembling and moulding this Super Eagles outfit; for all that to go up in smoke because of Lesotho, Benin and Sierra Leone. What a joke it would be.
For me, such failure will be unrivalled in the recent history of Nigerian football. Missing out on the 2015 and 2017 Afcons will pale in comparison to missing out this time around.
Wait, when we missed out on Afcon 2015, we were the then-current champions and recent World Cup second rounders. But now, yes we aren’t in exactly the same position but the difference is that we now have the widest pool of quality players to pick from with many of these playing in elite leagues.
We have a German coach who has been brought in (and retained) for the sole purpose of smashing the technical and tactical glass ceiling that has curtailed the progress of the Super Eagles.
So, failure to qualify for next year’s Afcon will be catastrophic – to put it mildly.
But, for the first time since Rohr took over as Super Eagles coach, failure to qualify for a major tournament seems like a distinct possibility.
If the Super Eagles players bite on the ampoules of complacency-fluid as they did against Sierra Leone and lose against Benin on March 22, then the download of calculator apps from the Google Play-Store (for android users) will go up the roof!
If that happens and Sierra Leone defeat Lesotho on the same day, Gernot Rohr's most vitriolic critics will have their day finally. They will take to various social media platforms to methodically highlight the vindication of their obloquys against Gernot Rohr over many, many months.
Rohr can’t afford for that to happen. Even outside this forum, many stakeholders of Nigerian football, well wishers, will call for his head instantly.
In this nightmare scenario, the match against Lesotho would then be a must-win or else, a draw will leave us with 9 points. A win for Sierra Leone at that point against Benin will also leave them with 9 points (and better head-on-head against Nigeria, no thanks to the 4:4 draw in Benin City). Benin would already be on 10 points.
Do the maths.
The match against Benin is going to be of huge magnitude, one in which the Super Eagles cannot afford to cock up.
According to former Super Eagles goalkeeper Joseph Dosu: “To achieve (victory against Benin), the technical adviser, Gernot Rohr must select the right players capable of getting the job done.”
In addition to that will be the right tactics and timely preparations. Qualification for Afcon 2022 is far from being in the bag. The Super Eagles have it all to do against Benin.
Copyright notice: unauthorized use of this material is strictly prohibited