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Eagles: Ezeugo, Okpala pass verdict

By Onochie Anibeze

Ex-international    Emeka Ezeugo watched the Super Eagles beat Kenya on Sunday and returned this verdict:
“The coaches were brave to have put away some key players for not responding to national calls and they should be commended for that. There’s need to ensure competition among the players. You earn your national team shirt, you don’t just get it. I want to commend Amodu for that.

SANDWICHED•••Super Eagles hitman, Ikechukwu Uche, closed down by Mozambique’s Simao (right) and Fanuel during their World Cup qualifier in Maputo. The match ended goalless.
SANDWICHED•••Super Eagles hitman, Ikechukwu Uche, closed down by Mozambique’s Simao (right) and Fanuel during their World Cup qualifier in Maputo. The match ended goalless.

Joseph Yobo, Taiye Taiwo, Mikel Obi and Chidi Odia were not even dressed for the game. They failed to show up for the two friendlies the team played before the Abuja match.

Ezeugo described the decision to keep them away as “brave.”  However, he said the coaches should do something about the midfield and the defence.

“The marking should be tight and collective. Positioning matters too. What was most important were the three points and we had them. So, I congratulate the team. But one must point out the flaws in the defence and midfield.

It is not that a team must be perfect. No team is. But if we played a team with good finishing the way we played Kenya, we would be biting our fingers. We were lucky they didn’t get a goal. Our team should work on those flaws before the game against Tunisia.”

For Sylvanus Okpala, another ex-international, a lot will be revealed about the current Super Eagles and their coaching crew when they play in Tunisia. He explained why he said this: “It’s always difficult to assess the input of coaches when they have just two or three days to work on players.

That has been the situation since the qualifiers started. A coach cannot really impact his concept on a team in two or three days. But Amodu Shuaibu and his assistants have up to two weeks from now to the June 20th match in Tunisia. I think, it’s after then that we can begin to assess the current Eagles under Amodu properly. That’s when we can really say things about Amodu’s work. I’m happy that they will be training at Malta and will have time to work on tactical things. I expect a lot of work to be done. I expect to see a good match in Tunisia. Let’s see how it goes on that day. I know that there’s a lot to be done”

On the match in Abuja, Okpala celebrated the 3-0 victory, noting that Kenya were a good side but which lacked clinical finishing to convert the “unbelievable chances they created.”

He feared that had Kenya equalised when Nigeria led 1-0, the game could have probably turned against us considering the way the Kenyans were playing. However, he commended the inclusion of Nwankwo Kanu and the moves the Portsmouth player made that quickly led to Nigeria scoring two more quick goals.


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.