Archive for the 'Super Eagles' Category

Hapless Eagles

The African Nations Cup going on in Ghana has shown the world, especially Nigerians, that there’s nothing “super” about the Super Eagles. Before the start of Nigeria’s run in tournament I told my cousins that Nigeria will struggle and that I wasn’t really expecting much from them. The look of shock which ran across their faces at my mere insinuation that the Super Eagles would struggle one would have thought I had said something blasphemous against God. They then proceeded to call me a sell-out and started to cheer on Nigeria in their first match against Ivory Coast. Now we’re two games into the Nations Cup (a draw and a loss) and we don’t have control of our destiny in the tournament. Instead we have to pray that the Ivory Coast’s Team B can beat a strong Mali side…well that’s if we can beat Benin in our final group game.The trouble with Nigeria’s Super Eagles is one that have been in full display during the friendlies – a non existent midfield, the long ball, and players not knowing their roles.

The long-ball is an European thing, we don’t play that, we play African football, one that is heavily dependent on the quality of the midfield players and ball possession. Begti Vogts seems to have ignored this and has been trying to imprint the European style of football into their Nigerian players’ heads and for some odd reason they seem very inept when it comes to executing it (I find this rather hilarious when you consider that more than half of our players play in European top flight leagues). On the pitch what we get is a side seeming to forget their assigned roles whilst roaming around the pitch aimlessly.

All blame shouldn’t be heaped solely the players, some have to be assigned to the coach. Begti Vogts hasn’t grasped the fact that the long ball tactic isn’t working and worse off it isn’t utilizing the full potential of his side. Also he continues to put players out of their natural positions or off their comfort zones i.e. playing Mikel as an attacking midfielder when he’s better been a defensive midfielder or asking Kanu to attack from deep when he’s better up front along side a fellow striker or playing Martins wide left when he’s better in the striker or lone-striker role. Here’s the damning thing for Mr. Vogts, all these were evident during this friendlies yet he hasn’t corrected them…even worse some of the players he is fielding during the tournament weren’t part of his friendlies run of matches.

Whatever the end result is for Nigeria in this tournament so rethinking needs to be done by Begti Vogts but that’s if he survives the axe of the Nigeria FA.

Happy New Year!

Nigeria 2 Mexico 2

Mexico - Nigeria

The scoreline does not paint a true picture of this friendly. Mexico were by far the better of the two sides, they played with more flair, creativity and intensity. The Mexican wingers carved up the Nigeria defense all day and is a true mystery as to why the scoreline remained tied at the end of ninety minutes.

In fact Mexico were actually down two-nil mainly due to the brilliance of Obafemi Martins, his speed was a constant headache for the Mexican back four and his brace were goals to be admired. That was the only positive for the Nigerian performance in the friendly tie. From the game one could clearly see that the players were still adapting to Vogts new style of football, the long ball, but it doesn’t excuse the lack of effort displayed by the Nigerian midfield. They gave away the ball cheaply and too often (especially Obi Mikel), they had difficulty creating open plays in the midfield and were not all too impressive with their defensive duties either. The defense did not fair any better, they failed to close up who they were marking, they ball watched a lot especially as crosses were coming in and were always half a step behind the Mexican attack.

I’m sure the Nigeria team would be happy leaving Mexico, a very tough view, with a tie but there is a great deal of work to be done by Vogts on the Nigeria side, especially with their set pieces, and I do hope the question raised by this game will be answered soon enough.

Mexico-Nigeria Highlights (YouTube)

In Other News:

Wayne “the wonderkid” Rooney finally ended his 3 year plus goal drought in an England shirt in the Three Lions’ 3-nil win over Estonia. Again Barry impressed and has cemented his place in the side whilest keeping Fat Frank comfy on the bench.

Vogts and The Eagles

Obafemi Martins

This weekend brings the Premier League break so players can return to their respective countries for international duties. So what we have will be a string of Euro 2008 qualifiers and international friendlies. Normally I would be writing about England’s forthcoming match against Estonia but thinking about it depressed me after realizing that McClown is running the show and he is still a player-pleasing-clueless FUCK!!! So I turn my attention to writing about my favourite team….The Super Eagles.

Granted I have not written much about the Nigerian National side, and that will change, I’ve merely been sitting back and watching the workings of the new coach Berti Vogts. His appointment was a shock to me; I tried tirelessly to figure out how the buffoons running the Nigerian Football Association (NFA) could prize away such a football legend away from other clubs/national teams. Do not get me wrong I loved the idea of having Berti Vogts as the Super Eagles National head coach (he bring huge benefits which I’ll look at later) but we are talking about the NFA here, an organization rife with corruption and political in-fighting.

As I mentioned before, the hiring of Mr. Vogts brings huge benefits, one of which instant respect from the players. Past coaches have had troubles controlling the Super Eagles players and to some extent some players were arrogantly making demands to the coaching staff. None of that will fly with Vogts, the man is a legend and when he speaks the players will listen…he can even drop big name starts without reprieve easily. Another benefit of Vogts is that he knows fully well the politics of football and how to handle them. From demanding a 3-month advance salary before taking the helm to picking his own coaching staff (even after the NFA had appointed him one) Vogts has shown to the NFA he is no push over and the running of the national side will be done how he sees fit. He even has strayed away from only picking big name players and has gravitated towards little known Nigerian players, some with dual nationality, as he seeks to build a team with the European Football philosophy of keeping the game direct and simple…something the NFA would have cried bloody murder in years past.

While I like all the moves Berti Vogtz has made they still need to be backed up on the pitch if he wishes to remain head coach. Guiding the Super Eagles to finishing top in her 2008 African National Cup qualifying group is a good start (W5-D0-L1) but honestly it was a weak group. The true test of Mr. Vogts philopshy will come with the string of friendlies which start this weekend against Mexico and then Jamaica. I’m eager to put our disappointments of past years (a la losing our World Cup qualification to Angola….ANGOLA!!!!) and start looking forward to greener pastures, COME ON SUPER EAGLES!!!!