Emenike says confidence back in Eagles thanks to Enyeama and Yobo
Tuesday Jun 17, 2014. 18:06
Samm Audu writes that Nigeria lacked tact and heart against Iran so much so it will now take a big miracle for the Super Eagles to go past the first round of the World Cup.
A friend and a very disappointed Nigeria fan with his head wrapped around with a dark , navy blue cloth and posing as one of the kidnapped Chibok girls by the terrorists group Boko Haram posted a passionate plea on his Facebook page.
He said on the video,”FIFA for the sake of football, our boys and men were captured and taken to Brazil…you know where they are…please bring them back home to us.”
It was his own way of registering his disgust at the pathetic attempt by Nigeria to beat Iran on Monday night in Curitiba.
The wisecrack aside, the African champions lacked tact and commitment against a resolute Iran so much that a top official of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has accused them of trying to sabotage the country’s World Cup campaign for their own selfish interests.
The draw with Iran was two points lost for Nigeria and not a point gained because the Eagles face two much more difficult matches against Bosnia-Herzegovia on Saturday and against Argentina the following Wednesday.
Black Stars of Ghana lost 2-1 to the United States of America hours later, but no one could fault their wholehearted commitment in their own opening game.
Aside the lack of drive, Keshi further confirmed his earlier shock admission that he knew very little about his opponents as he clearly did not have the tactics to beat them on the day.
Iran crowded their defence in a 4-4-1-1 formation, and so rather than Keshi to play with three defenders with the defensive midfielder helping out when Nigeria defend, he opted for his traditional four-man backline.
One of the fullbacks ought to be allowed to go forward and if that happens the right or left attacking winger creates space for the wing back to go through to deliver good crosses into the opponents’ box.
Nigeria failed to attack in numbers and there was little or no movement up front meaning the power-playing centre-forward Emmanuel Emenike was again marked out as he has been in the build-up to Brazil 2014.
It takes you back to the 1994 World Cup when Rashidi Yekini was also the marked man so much that his opening goal in the opening game against Bulgaria will be the only goal he will score at that championship.
With Emenike shut out, Nigeria sorely missed Villarreal striker and Eagles outcast Ike Uche, who would have used his guile and individual brilliance to take on his Iranian markers as he has done with such great effect in the Spanish La Liga.
Even the value of the much vilified Brown Ideye was there to see on Monday. He may not be your clinical finisher, but his burstling runs proved at last year’s AFCON to be the decoy Emenike needed to make hay.
The Nigeria midfield anchored by Mikel was sloppy for want of a better adjective. They lost possession unnecessarily and often tried the hopeful, long ball route to connect to a strike force that was not physically superior to their markers.
Former Eagles star Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha was spot-on about his criticism against the replacement of the creative Victor Moses for Shola Ameobi in the second half.
Before this substitution, Moses was about the only player who took on the Iranian defence and his change must therefore have been a huge relief to Team Melli.
Nigerians, optimistic as ever, are now praying for a miracle for the Eagles to upstage the impressive Bosnians.
Hear former international Jonathan Akpoborie: "Fortunately for Nigerians, God answers our prayers when it comes to football. So, we are all hoping He does this time through a miracle. That's the only thing I think can take us beyond the group stage in Brazil.”
You can be sure Nigerians will be a lot less forgiven were they to stay up late by 11pm on Saturday and the miracle they prayed for does not come to pass.