By Nosa Eke
I enjoyed reading your Â Â Â piece about the history between Nigeria and Tunisiaâ€™s national teams over the weekend, and was not surprised that your analysis led you to correctly conclude that a draw was the more likely result.
It helped that you provided necessary context and that you were able to dissect the match without much emotion.
Let me add that the Super Eagles played, perhaps, their best tactical game in a long time, against Tunisia last weekend.
For this reason, the teamâ€™s manager, Shaibu Amodu, must be commended.
I had read, leading to the match, several disparaging comments about his work, and for the most part, I thought that the criticisms were unfair and unfounded. I am absolutely certain that the Berti Vogtsâ€™ led Eagles would have lost that game.
He would have been naive enough to attack the Tunisians, and in the process open the team to the threats of counter attacks by the Tunisians, and without question, they would have taken full advantage.
Amodu must be commended for deploying the appropriate tactic for the game. He correctly understood that he needed many ball holding players to control traffic in the midfield,and that his defenders needed to be proven and sure tacklers. He took his chances with pacy strikers, in the hope that they would convert their opportunities. While the strikers did not score, they played well enough, and with some luck next time, would find the net.
In watching Amoduâ€™s Eagles, I see a team that is gelling fast. They are playing well together, fighting for one another, demonstrating urgency and more importantly, seem to have bonded with their coach. This process generally takes time, and Amodu and his assistant coaches have done well to position the team for the next level of growth.
My sense is that in the next couple of months, the team will find that elusive goal poaching forward. More than likely, it would be Chinedu Obasi, the injured striker with Hoffenheim in the Budenslinga, and this team will fully take flight. Remember that Yakubu Aiyegbeni was in rich scoring form before his injury as well. I believe that once we become more settled upfront, that this team would win its next three matches, and will be on its way to the World Cup.
It is time that we stop complaining so much about this man and the wonderful job that he is doing. Let us start to thank those who have chosen to stake their necks and risk being criticised, while serving Nigeria, when the safe thing to do would be to cower and hide. At least, Amodu has been brave enough to test the power of his ideas. How many Nigerians can say that in their respective fields of endeavour?
â€¢Nosa Eke, wrote from Dallas, Texas, USA.Â Â Â Â Â