In the Spanish La Liga this weekend, Leganes lost 2:1 to Real Valladolid with Super Eagles defender Awaziem and their goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar helping to gift their first opponents the first goal after both being complicit in messing up a simple defensive routine.
A long ball from Valladolid half saw Awaziem get to the ball before an opponent, but his header outside the box to Cuellar went past the onrushing goalkeeper , which handed Enes Unal an easy tap in to put the visitors ahead on two minutes
I guess describing the incident as the result of miscommunication between Awaziem and the his goalkeeper will be apt.
They both have to share the blame for the mishap. That said, Awaziem’s pace and recovery rate were called to question but he fell short on both counts. It was not totally impossible for him to race to recover the situation after the goalkeeper had clearly missed his header however (even with a good starting position) the opposition attacker raced ahead of him to stab home and break the hearts of their fans.
It proved to be a lethal stab as Leganes would fail to recover, eventually conceding another goal before a penalty gifted them a face-saving consolation goal.
Awaziem and Omeruo continue to clock valuable game time in a very high level that is that is the Spanish La Liga which goes to underscore the calibre and quality of players who kit out for the Super Eagles these days.
Awaziem should approach this mishap quite simply as one of those things. He remains an asset to the Super Eagles if nothing else but his versatility which was on display to indelibly compelling effect in the last Afcon where he was deployed as a right fullback.
That said, his inadequate clearance contributed to the sequence of events that led to the freekick that Mahrez masterfully converted to add fuel to frustrations of Super Eagles fans who would for the umpteenth time have to settle for an Afcon bronze.
Another dodgy clearance yesterday exposed his defence and contributed in condemning his team to a defeat (even though as noted, his goalkeeper had a fault in the confusion). It wasn’t that long ago when mistiming a header and his questionable positioning led to him freeing up South Africa’s Tokelo Ranti to head home against Nigeria in Uyo thereby condemning us to our first loss in a competitive fixture to the former Apartheid state.
But he will learn and like all great defenders, lessons learnt from these episodes should help Awaziem develop strategies to cope much better in such scenarios in the future.
I believe Awaziem will come good.