Super Eagles steamrollering by the Carthage Eagles goes beyond coaching.
by Abubakar Masud
It’s hard for every Nigerian fan to process the defeat last night and get over it, after watching the mediocre Tunisia side outclassing the Super Eagles with a stunning 1:0 victory.
It’s been ages since Nigeria have been evicted at the knockout stage of AFCON, the last time they have been evicted at this stage was in 2008 when they were eliminated by the host Ghana. Tunisia being the favoured third of their group still contrive to put of a fighting spirit and goes toe to toe with the shining team of the tournament after topping their group with an unbeaten streak and with important nine points, something last seen in 2010.
Youssef Msakni goal in the second half after beating Maduka Okoye from range— shielded the rays of hope of the Giant of Africa from hitting the spot and left them sunken in the ship. Despite their brilliant performance in the group stage by winning three of three, the Super Eagles still looked susceptible in the midfield after the tactical freeing of Joseph Aribo’s to roam on the pitch which leaves Wilfred Ndidi the only backup to their defence and this all came out to be lack of preparation and tactics.
This has resorted the head coach Austin Eguavoen to subbing four of the players, amongst them Everton’s midfielder Alex Iwobi, who has shown a red card 5 minutes after his introduction for his dangerous challenge—and this faded their only chance of advancing even more. Eguavoen decision in the lineup gives a telling that Nigeria might fail and if they win it can be called mere luck or Tunisia’s fault for not capitalizing on the weakness of their opposition, they were known to be conservative in their lineup and style of play but last night they appeared adventurous and that cost them their game and Tunisia take the advantage of the loophole provided by the coach in the lineup.
Nigeria’s government officials and businessmen have their portion of the blame for their distractions off the field, as they entertained many visitors off the field and on at the halftime break. Most of them promised them millions of nairas per goal scored in the game among other potential rewards—history has it for us that such promises have never yielded any goals nor result as it is in 2015 when a state governor promised the Super Eagles 5,000 dollars per goal scored in their game with the Bafana-Bafana, which has culminated to failure.
Now, the Super Eagles had already flipped the page of AFCON and turned to the new page of their FIFA World Cup playoff with Ghana which has been set for March, let’s see if they’ll take it all out on them.