What are the chances of Super Eagles' of Nigeria at the first world cup taking place on the African continent? My guess is as good as yours or maybe not.
People have been reacting to what they feel would be another disgraceful outing for Nigeria in South Africa, while others believe the team could be the surprise package of the tournament.
Sincerely, I believe that only teams with good preparations and the desire to win coupled with discipline and prayers would go very far. Nevertheless, this is what I would be talking about and maybe at the end of this post, you may either agree or disagree on how far the team can go.
Let's go back in time and see how far the team has come.
Nigeria participated in her first World cup at the USA '94' finals. They qualified as runners up to Argentina, whom coincidentally, they would be facing again this year in South Africa '2010', and were knocked out in the second round by Italy.
In France '98', they qualified as group winners, playing against the likes of Spain and Bulgaria. They were knocked out again and failed to get to through the second round after suffering an embarrassing 4:1 defeat at the hands of Denmark.
They did not make it past the group stages in 2002 while politics and poor results ensured that Nigeria could not participate in the 2006 edition which took place in Germany.
A steady decline has been in existence from 1994 to 2006 which I’m sure you all agree. Never mind, let's go on.
This time around, the Eagles narrowly escaped disqualification on the last day of the qualifiers. They needed to win game in Kenya, hoping Mozambique would beat Tunisia. That's exactly what happened, and with that victory, Nigeria was able to leapfrog Tunisia and clinch the World cup ticket to South Africa 2010
Preparations are now they key to Nigeria’s' chances at the World cup. However, there is a problem in the lack of cohesion between the generation of older players and the younger ones (coughing sarcastically).
Nigeria has always produced quality players. The likes of Stephen Keshi, Segun Odegbami, Rashidi Yekini, Mutiu Adepoju, Sunday Oliseh, Finidi George, Daniel Amokachi, Emmanuel Amuneke, Samson Siasia,
Christian Chukwu, Friday Elaho, Uche Okechukwu, Celestine Babayaro, Austin Okocha, Late Samuel Okwaraji (God bless his soul) have proven that the country indeed, has produced extraordinary football talents. But, with strikers like Martins, Osaze, Yakubu (I wonder how he made the team), Kalu, Obasi, Utaka, Kanu (Well?), Nsofor and Obasi, Nigerian's would be praying that their eyes for goals would stare the team towards glory during the World cup. The partnership between the strikers is still yet to blossom, regardless of the style and formation the team would be adopting
However, a rebuilding project is now taking place after a new manager (Lars Largerback) has been appointed to replace the erstwhile coach, Shaibu Amodu. Positive signs are beginning to emerge with the Swedish tactician already making changes in the team. I personally believe these are minor indications for Nigerians to believe that the Super Eagles can spring a surprise. After missing out on qualification the last time out, I expect the Eagles to be a team with a point to prove
Let me know your thoughts and until next time, have a great day!
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