Eight lessons we should have learned from Nigeria v Cameroon double header

Being one of millions of
Nigerians who did not think the Super Eagles could beat Cameroon, I
made the trip to Uyo not expecting a Nigerian win but to enjoy a good
game of football.

I did not go to Cameroon but
followed every bit of it on television and the morning after, these
are eight lessons I think we should have learned from the double
header.

Cameroon
is not indomitable

When the draws for the World
Cup was made, I remember telling colleagues that “Nigeria will
carry last” in the group.

No one should blame me because
the Eagles were in disarray at the time, going from Stephen Keshi to
Sunday Oliseh to Samson Siasia to Paul Le Gwen (for a few hours) and
then Gernot Rohr, all in one year.

Then the Cameroonians had been
our eternal nemesis, or so we thought and Algeria was number one
ranked team in Africa.

However, the games, especially
against Cameroon proved the easiest of the lot.

Nigeria did not just win
against Cameroon but completely outclassed them. Then again head to
head records showed that Nigeria have been the better side over the
years. Cameroon just won the key games like AFCON finals (three of
them)

Something
good can come out of the Nigerian League

Ikechukwu Ezenwa

Most Nigerians were
apprehensive after Vincent Enyeama quit and Carl Ikeme took ill. As
far as they were concerned the country was doomed. We had no
goalkeeper and Vincent must return, even though he was currently out
injured.

When Daniel Akpeyi, who was
foreign based “messed up” against South Africa, it seemed the end
for the Eagles.

Over two games, I give
Ikechukwu Ezenwa a rating of 7 out of 10. he made some errors in Uyo
and one in Yaounde that cost us the lead, but with his overall
performance Rohr should change his stance on the Nigerian League
players.

The fact that his error cost
the penalty changes not my opinion of his over performance over two
games and Rohr now has decisions to make.

Maybe
Victor Moses actually gives his best for Nigeria

More often than not, the
Chelsea man goes out with injury on the match day before the
international break and Nigerians, especially the sporting media
began to push a narrative that Moses does not want to play for
Nigeria.

The performance he put up in
the two games clearly showed that in a Super Eagles jersey he can
rank as one of the best in the world.

In both Uyo and Cameroon, he
was all over the place marshaling the destruction of Cameroon,
scoring and assisting for good measure.

He did not slow down a step in
Yaounde as he proved unstoppable too.

Maybe Chelsea should try
Victor Moses upfront in a game or two.

Any
team can lose games

After the loss to South Africa
in Uyo, Nigerians went ballistic on the players and Gernot Rohr.

Rohr made a mistake in
invitation and selection for the game against Bafana Bafana and paid
for it dearly.

The Eagles that played against
Cameroon were unrecognizable in terns of play compared to the game
against South Africa.

Now every one is praising the
Eagles again and some even say we can win the World Cup in Russia
(hmm).

The Eagles could lose at home
to Zambia, or away to Algeria, or away to South Africa in the AFCON.

Nigerians should understand
that in the game of football, any team can lose games.

Kids
on their own cannot win for you

After a one hundred percent
start to his Super Eagles career, Gernot Rohr decided to try a new
experiment.

Odion Ighalo and Brown Ideye
were dropped for Kayode Olarenwaju and Victor Osimhen.

Chiedozie Awaziem was thrown
straight into the team and even in the absence of John Mikel Obi,
John Ogu did not get to play while Kelechi Iheanacho led the lines
with Alex Iwobi and Moses Simon supporting.

The result is legendary and
will go down in South African folklore.

Not that I subscribe to the
saying that you cannot win anything with kids, mine is, you cannot
win anything with kids who do not have proper guidance.

If Nigeria had won against
South Africa we would have had the false sense of security not
realising that Mikel Obi, Odion Ighalo, Victor Moses and maybe, if he
sorts out his club issues, Brown Ideye still have a role to play.

Kids are for the future, but
every national team or club needs players to deliver now, while the
kids learn with them and grow into being the mainstay of the team.

The
NFF need a crash course in organising football matches

As the performance of the
Super Eagles get better, that of the NFF gets worse in terms of
organising.

Now, I can not really say if I
need to put this blame on the NFF alone or the Akwa Ibom State
government who took charge of accommodation, logistics and security,
but some one has to learn.

Gun totting policeman, beating
up journalists and fans and as much as opening canisters of tear gas
when there was no crisis at an international match simply just showed
that something was wrong and remains wrong.

I saw some personal efforts
Amaju Pinnick made to ensure things were done the right way, but a
lot must change in international games.

I suggest training workshops
for the Nigerian police and DSS (Which is the new one in these games)
before any international match.

John
Mikel Obi is a team leader

John Mikel Obi has been out of
the Super Eagles since Algeria in November 2016 and he returned to
tell the world that he was only about seventy percent match fit for
the game.

However, he led well and had
complete command of the midfield with Ogenyi Onazi and Ndidi Wilfred
behind him.

Though not such a commanding
performance in Yaounde, the much vilified John Mikel Obi has grown
into a midfield general for the Eagles and has shown that he is
indispensable in the team.

We
still have a left back problem

Elderson Echiejile
In the 80s the Eagles had
Bright Omokaro who handed over to Ben Iroha and then Celestine
Babayaro who left the position for Ifeanyi Udeze.

But since after Udeze, the
Eagles have had a left back problem.

Taiye Taiwo flattered to
deceive but apart from free kicks he hardly ever convinced.

For a while, the left back
“has been leaking” as we say in local parlance and Elderson
Echiejile, knowing that all eyes were on him tried to be careful in
Uyo. He hardly ever went forward. He had a decent game.

In Yaounde, the Bassagog v
Echiejile battle we feared for eventually happened and the
Cameroonian won every duel.

Gernot Rohr is here to build a
team, not appear 2 weeks to match day and select players for games.

At this point, he should look
inwards. There are left full backs in the Nigerian League that would
be more enterprising running down the flanks and defending too.

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