For the first time for me, the players themselves do not owe me an apology. The sports minister telling Gernot Rohr to shut up owes me an apology. The NFF who sacked a coach on the eve of 2 major assignments (Afcon and last stage world cup qualifiers) owes me an apology and are required to resign with immediate effect.
Eguavoen, whose defective tactical approach rendered the outfield players impotent and exposed goalkeeping lapses owes me a huge apology. He should now resign his post as Technical Director and recede to obscurity, never to have anything to do with any Nigeria national team ever again.
Okoye and Uzoho (whom I now 100% absolve of critical blame) do have their shortcomings but Eguavoen’s tactical arrangements leaves these goalkeepers badly exposed. Isn’t it ironic and funny how the goal that knocked us out of the Afcon resembles the one that knocked us out of world cup qualification.
The only difference being that Okoye’s view was impeded by a body of defenders. Nonetheless, defensive midfield frailties and inadequate pressing let both goalkeepers down, so I will cut them some slack.
Since games against Guinea Bissau and Sudan, I have been banging the drum that just 2 midfielders in modern football is grossly inappropriate and perilously inadequate.
The 4 forwards are isolated and your midfield is overrun. Eguavoen was clearly out of his depths. He lacked the technical nous and tactical sagacity to take any team to success.
Wing play, wing play is good if you know how to play it. It is an embarrassment to wingplay to describe Nigeria’s approach under Eguavoen as such. It is an aberration to describe Eguavoen’s model as wingplay – wingers with no service, wingers with no space, wingers with no flight.
This Eunuch of a coach got it right against Egypt but could never replicate it in subsequent games.
The errors of his ways continued to be apparent in subsequent games but he lacked the vision to see this and also lacked the ability to implement measures to chart a separate more productive course.
Although Ghana had their 1:1 draw, still they were comfortable to saturate our midfield and even sacrifice 2 strikers upwards – that much confident they were, that much clueless our coaching crew was.
Positives: what positives can I draw from this debacle? I guess in years to come we can say Ghana didn’t defeat us across two legs. Rather they advanced to the world cup on a technicality, an away goals technicality that some continental football associations have already discarded.
Perhaps another chip to Nigeria’s battered feathers is the fact that the only 2 times we have failed to qualify for the world cup since our 1994 curtain raiser, these came about due to controversial and archaic technicalities: 1) ludicrous head to head goals difference and 2) stone age away goals rule.
But trust me,this is scant consolation for Nigeria fans at the moment, many of whom are still brooding, many of whom are desperate to hang this monumental failure on the neck of other innocent fans.
Blame game is the order of the day.
But there is one thing I blame: a rotten system overseen by a rotten organization who is not fit for purpose and will continue to drag Nigeria’s football to the abyss.
An organization aided and abated by a sports minister who seemed hell bent on interfering and tampering with the running of Nigerian football to the detriment of other sports in his purview.
The future looks very grim and bleak indeed.