Although some Super Eagles stakeholders like ex international goalkeeper Joseph Dosu are optimistic of Nigeria’s chances of overturning the 2 goals deficit against fierce rivals Ghana in next weekend’s second leg of the Chan qualifiers, the team is in reality skating on thin ice.
Nigeria fell to the hurtful 2 goals to nil against a sturdy Ghana in this weekend's first leg Chan qualifiers at the Cape Coast stadium in Ghana. The second leg holds next Saturday in Abuja.
In football, anything is possible but success to the home based Super Eagles will just represent rewarding poor practice.
In the first leg of the encounter, the Super Eagles held their own in the first half with the hopes of building up on it in the second half. They were disciplined at the back and resolute in midfield but clueless in the final third.
But Ghana were razor sharp in attack and could actually have taken the lead in the first 10 minutes. They cracked open Nigeria’s defensive wall convincingly throughout the match to such an extent that the 2:0 victory to Ghana accurately reflected the nature of the encounter.
Nigeria were experimental. Salisu Yusuf used the match to figure out which system worked with which personnel. Under a more competent Football Administration, at least 3 quality friendly matches would have afforded Salisu Yusuf ample opportunity to experiment.
The homebased lads are not fantastic but they weren’t entirely jaded either. They played with a reasonable level of intensity and application but they were let down by haphazard and inadequate preparations.
The best I think they can hope for in the second leg is a face-saving draw.
At best they will score 1 goal but expecting them to overcome 2 goals deficit might be stretching hope and faith to breaking point.
The Ghanians have their offensive routines finetuned and well polished while Nigeria are still looking for the express road that leads to their opponents’ box 18.
It’s almost a mismatch: a well prepared Ghana vs a hastily assembled, coubled together Nigeria. And it boggles the mind why the NFF left it late to assemble the boys knowing fully well Ghana would have played a round of qualifiers before these encounters.
It’s almost like the NFF were deliberately planning the team for failure. Late preparations went unpunished in the Wafu Zone B U-17 and U-20 tournaments.
Ghana are just about to show that senior level football is another kettle of fish entirely: at this level, thorough planning will always come up trumps.
But, we can only hope.
Perhaps an early goal for Nigeria can set in motion a chain reaction for a most unlikely Nigeria comeback. Mind games, home advantage and lessons from the first leg could also have roles play. A Super Eagles player might just be possesed with a spirit from the gods of football in Nigeria.
It is not over until it is but on evidence of what transpired in the first leg, the homebased Super Eagles seem set to miss consecutive Chan tournaments.
And that will be a pity.
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