Opinion: The Rude Awakening

Opinion: The Rude Awakening

BY EMMANUEL NYABAM

 

Dear Mr Rohr and fellow Nigerians. This is an open letter on the Nigerian game. A lot has been said about Nigeria’s loss to South Africa last weekend.  I won’t bother you with the drama that we used South African balls to play the match.

Ha! Maybe they had ‘jazzed the balls sef?’  Sikes! If I hear!  I must commend Rohr as I am firmly one of those who did not want a foreign coach for our national team.

No doubt, the man has brought some stability to the Super Eagles and this was just one big bad day at the office.

The truth is that we did not prepare well for this game and we underestimated the resolve of Stuart Baxter and his boys.  This game we should quickly forget and move on.

To Rohr, let me state my personal position to you sire.  Nigerians cannot defend for their goal area and what we know how to do is attack with zest.  Even that is now quite eroded with half baked players we now parade. They merely warm benches in their various clubs across the globe.

Let’s chronicle this fact.  Nigeria has produced just one world class defender.  His name sire, is Mr Terrible, oh sorry (in 1996 Olympics the commentator called him so) Taribo West.

Since his departure we have been graced by nearly ‘Champions and Omeruo’ the most recent after Tonight, has lost his way content to just play average football in some obscure club.

Let me push this treatise further; today how many quality centre backs are within our league or Europe now?

This means there is a dearth and the drought continues unabated.  The likes of Elisha Gilbert are too slow though can be trained to improve.

Mr Rohr, the next thing I must state to you is that Nigeria and its players are dam too used to fire brigade approach so you must camp the players in a strict regimented camp.

I have found that Rhor needs to understand that he must treat our footballers like kids who need direction.  It is how we are toned and it shows in our expansive bit useless play.

We are flamboyant and elaborate in painting the ball practically playing football at snail pace or better explained in the Nigerian lingo ‘go-slow’.

Herein, players who are late without reason must be kept out so discipline is holistic.  He also needs this to speak to our arrogant mindsets that make us feel superior to our opponents.

With these two foregoing matters out of the way, it is time we build our philosophy of football.  We can’t defend period.

In 1994 at the World Cup, Austin ‘Jay Jay” Okocha (the dancer who never fully blossomed) and should have played keep away so we knock out Italy gifted them the ball and they went on to beat Nigeria.

That set of players jokingly call themselves World Cup stars and for me they can enjoy their boast as the first to take us forward into the World Cup but their collective ignorance led to our ouster at the World Cup.

A quick roll forward we lost to Brazil in the first round with defensive posture.  When we met again, and we had no option in a game we were losing we reverted to a back-three line and attacked which we understand like the air we breathe.

We went on to win the Olympic gold attacking and not defending.  When the white witch doctor, Pillippe Trousier came, and with our team playing against Guinea, even a rampaging Titi  Camera ended up playing central defence to escape Nigeria’s raving rampaging play playing with a back three line.

Alas some bungling ignorant chaps who had access to the then Head of State stage-managed Troussier’s ouster.  Keshi played a loose four back system wherein he allowed for our expansiveness and passing freeing up Mikel Obi to play and lead us to a Africa Cup of Nations victory.

Lastly Siasia beat France in a friendly playing with a three-man back line which shocked France.

Sire, am I making sense now?  Mr Rhor I appreciate your desire to rebuild our national team for longevity.  My take sire, use the home-based Eagles team to bring in and train players who can adapt to your desired plans for a youthful team.

I ask you to look inwards and work with academies and help rebuild youth system. Sire, keep a data base because we lie too much about our ages.  However there are drills you can use that help you expose the age cheats without necessarily doing medical tests.

Be empirical in your testing regiment and also sit with players individually placing your philosophical approach into their heads.

I would let you rest now and be back with my further thoughts on the way forward.  Thank you for patiently enduring to read my missive sire.

 

Sporting Regards,

  1. Emmanuel Nyabam Esq. ©2017

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