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Why Nigeria’s Eagles lost

Abedi Pele played in Kanu’s time; Now, his children are playing against Kanu

By Westerhof, Amaju, Oganwu, Nnachetta

Clemens Westerhof, the man who built Nigeria’s football and who is now watching it plummet called from his base in South Africa to react to Nigeria’s defeat this way:

JULIBATION ••• Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Nigeria during their semi-final match of the Africa Cup of Nations in Luanda, Angola, yesterday. Photo AFP.

“What’s going on? When you lose a match and it is clear that the opponents are better then you take the defeat in good faith. But when you lose due to tactical blunders then everybody is bitter. Nigeria could not read the game yesterday. I did not see any direct tactics to win the match. How could they have changed Osaze Odewengie? And Osaze should be played more offensively.

Then Obafemi Martins. He had a lot of injuries and I didn’t know why he was played in the first place. We saw him lose up to three chances. He was not in the game. They left him there and changed Osaze. Incredible. I did not see any intention to win the match from the bench. If Nigeria plays like this at the World Cup, they are coming home after the first round. But why didn’t Nigeria have any player from Heartland, Kano Pillars and some other clubs?”

The next person to react yesterday was JohnOganwu, the first university graduate to play for Nigeria. He was in the Eagles in 1971. Oganwu spoke from Delta:

“I’m disappointed, totally disappointed at the way Eagles played. Our coaches don’t have the technical know-how to turn things around. They can’t read games and they showed it today. I was surprised that they left Obafemi Martins and changed Osaze.

They should not have brought in Yakubu Aiyegbeni if they saw what he played in previous games. Unless they are telling us that they were not watching their own players. I think they left better players on the bench and could not read the game. Osaze was the only thorn in the flesh of Ghana but they removed him. We need to make the right changes.”

The reaction of Pinnick Amaju, Delta’s sports commission boss and FA chairman went like this:
“It is sad to see us lose this way. Ghana were not exceptionally good but they had young players who could run around, play as unit and keep their heads. All teams, even Cameround, had young players except Nigeria. Tactically, we scored zero. What we saw of Nigeria were sparks of individual brilliance. Ghana were not fantastic but a good team for the future. Yes, they are building for the future.

Now, I want you to note this. Abedi Pele was still playing up till 1995 to 1996. Therefore, he played at the time of Kanu Nwankwo. Today, his two children are playing for Ghana and Kanu is still playing for Nigeria. What does that tell you? Where is our plan for the future?. Why are we picking team on sentiments? What can the technical committee of the of the football federation tell us now? The Ghanaians who beat Nigeria yesterday and advanced to the final of the Nations Cup started in WAFU Under 20 competition in Oghara here in Nigeria in 2009.

They won the trophy and went on to win the World Youth Soccer Championship in Egypt. Now they are doing well in the Nations Cup. This is the team that will go to the World Cup with few inclusions. So, one can see that they have a plan. Where are our Under 17 and Under 20 players?

Where are players from Heartland, Kano Pillars, two team that played in the continents final and semifinals respectively? Are they saying that Chibuzor Okonkwo of Bayelsa, Uchenna Agba of Heartland, Fergor Ogude of Warri Wolves and players like King Osanga are not good enough to add vive into our team? We need total overhauling of our team.”

Tony Nachetta’s fears were briefly captured this way: “We will not have neutrality to conduct a fair and proper overhaul of our crew and team. Amodu is mediocre and the federation is worse.”
Nnachetta wa
— Onochie Anibeze


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