Q/final cracker: Nigerians fear for Eagles
By Osaretin Emuze
Nigerians are persimistically optimistic about Super Eagles quarter final match against the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire who they meet today in the quarter final of the on-going Africa Nations Cup holding in South Africa.
A cross section of football stakeholders spoken to on the great match expressed fears that Nigeria may not go pass the quarter finals as the Ivoirians are clear favourites to lift the trophy.
They argued that Cote d’Ivoire have what it takes to defeat the Eagles who struggled to qualify for this stage. To them the fear of African footballer of the year, Yaya Toure, Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou, Emmanuel Ebue and Kolo Toure, among others, is the beginning of wisdom.
First to speak was veteran sports journalist, Ndanusa Ocholi who said that it would be a very tough game for the Super Eagles considering the profile of the Ivorians.
“If Nigeria should play as they did against Ethiopia, the Ivorians will punish them severely, but if they could lift their game, they would give their opponents a good run for their money and possibly beat them. They better be tactically disciplined and put up a good effort and determination. If they do that they may win but if they are lackaidasical in their approach, they won’t carry the day,” he stressed.
Ocholi however, said it will be an herculean task. “Without mincing words, it is not going to be an easy game.”
Seun Ahmed, a football analyst and a lecturer at the Lagos State University, Ojo said the Eagles match will be 70/30 in favour of Cote d’Ivoire. Technically and tactically, the Ivoirans are superior, the players too have carved a niche for themselves in the game of football across the world playing for big clubs.
He however, said in football anything can happen. “Eagles should put in their utmost best to win the match but I have my fears,” he stressed.
Francis Ehikhaise, Sports Editor with the Voice of Nigeria, said 90 minutes will judge. “I have my heart in my mouth, but football is not played on the pages of newspapers, it takes 90 minutes to know the winner. Whoever is more determined will win,” he said.