4 Lessons Losing To South Africa Should Teach Nigeria
South Africa’s Bafana Bafana played better on Saturday and deservedly defeated the Super Eagles of Nigeria by two great goals in front of their home crowd.
It was an Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match but can that match really be called “explosive”? Maybe for the Southies but definitely not for the Naija boys.
They were timid, lacked direction in attack, lacked creativity in the midfield and were more like a pack of individual players with no cohesion.
Ain’t nothing super about that Super Eagles and they deserved to lose that match. But do they have the potential to turn it around? Yes they do!
However, this will be greatly dependent on how well "those who matter" are able to identify the lessons from this game before they go back to that drawing board which must be worn out now by the way.
So, here are few lessons from this loss for those who matter – the players, the coaching team, Nigeria’s football administrators and the fans:
History Does Not Play Modern Football
Prior to the potentially explosive match in Uyo, all that flooded the media was the talk of South Africa having never defeated Nigeria in a competitive game.
Oh well…now that jinx is broken and we can concentrate on playing football and fighting for our victories.
Nigerians were busy babysitting their own ego and forgot to remind themselves that this Bafana Bafana have been getting close to breaking the jinx in recent games. Last time out when Nigeria missed out on the Afcon the Eagles struggled from two goals down at home to salvage a draw against them!
Truth is that while history is good, in modern football, you pay too much attention to it at your own peril. In Nigeria’s case, this particular noise motivated the opposition better.
Uyo Is Not A Fortress
Was it the TV or it was just what it was? That Uyo crowd did not seem ready to make the kind of noise needed to scare opposition.
It was like a game played on a neutral ground. Who does that? In an Afcon qualifier?
Dear NFF, forget about the matches looking pretty with a beautiful stadium on cable, the Super Eagles need real fanatic support that only Lagos and Kano can give.
And if this was about higher stadium capacity and earnings, the Uyo crowd could not even fill that stadium. So where is the little win?
Teslim Balogun Stadium may be smaller but Bafana Bafana could not have survived that den!
No Replacement For Mikel Obi…Yet
Dear Coach Gernot Rohr, please forget about the fact that captain Mikel Obi now plays in a less fancied Chinese league and just bring him back to the team already.
Nigeria has no replacement for that dude in this team and that is why there was no order or coordination. Onazi is an enforcer not an organizer.
Without an Enyeama, and now no Mikel or Victor Moses, the team would lack leadership and this was also obvious against South Africa.
Names Don't Scare African Players
The coach started the game with Alex Iwobi of Arsenal and Kelechi Iheanacho of Manchester City, so what? The South Africans played them like they did not exist and literally ensured they failed to exist in the match.
The Eagles’ directionless attack was a sad sight with Simon Moses a bag of individual skills but no cohesion with teammates
This is not to condemn the starting lineup but a message to the players that on this continent, as far as the Afcon is concerned, boys are not smiling.
Not qualifying for the past two tournaments should have taught this lesson but perhaps the fine boy Eagles needed this reminder.
This is the best crop of Eagles in recent years with many of them playing at the top leagues but they will achieve nothing if they do not shed the weight of stardom when they come home to play.