Disaster Looms For Super Eagles Of Nigeria,Unless…
The Greatest error of the decade Nigeria would make, as we face the final play-off phase to the 2014 FIFA world cup in Brazil, would be to believe that the upcoming deciding encounters vs. Ethiopia would be in any way Easy, to put it lightly!
Prior to the draws being made out on Monday 16th of September In Cairo, there were nations I dreaded Nigeria playing against, not because we cannot beat them, but because of the delicacies that these nations carry along with them for the super eagles. These nations were Ivory Coast(Revenge factor) Ghana & Cameroon (Past history factor) and Last but not least Ethiopia!
Nigeria Is now drawn to face Ethiopia in the final Play-off phase !
Many will ask why Fear Ethiopia? are they not minnows in the Hierarchy of African Football? did we not beat them at the just concluded Afcon as we Rode to the Title? etc These are the Reasons!
THE HEAD COACH
Ethiopia’s Head Coach, Sewnet Bishaw Is one of the best Coaches in Africa (if not the best) based on what he has been able to achieve with this team and the materials available at his disposal. Very thoughtful in his remarks which even when seeming lose have a well thought objective behind every word. For example : “ It is a good draw for both teams and we will be looking forward to playing Nigeria again after meeting them at AFCON 2013. At that time we were just happy to get back into top level competition and were inexperienced but now we have had many more matches at this level so we will give it a good go against Nigeria”… Bishaw’s comments after the draws were made.
Meaning: If Nigeria is expecting us to be easily beatable as was the case at the AFCON 2013 ,they’d better think again!
(Sewnet Is a Coach loved & who is known for long walks and using mini-buses)
Very Good Team
The team in my opinion was at the group stages of the AFCON 2013 the best African Team
They were collective,physical, entreprising and one could see in the team that they had so many prepared schemes that they put up on display at all times and had they had a better striker would have qualified to the next round at the detriment of either Nigeria or Burkina Faso, Two teams who eventually got to the finals!
To get to this stage they eliminated South Africa quite comfortably and did not lose a game on the pitch, the only game they lost was at the board room due to fielding of an ineligible player.
Tactically against South Africa they were quite sound and played like they needed to qualify.
Yes, Head Coach, Sewnet Bishaw is right, they have improved immensely
The Power Of Euphoria and Fan support
With a population of 91 million, the Ethiopians carry a huge fan base and at the moment are basking in the euphoria that started way back in January at the AFCON and one asks when and where will this end. They believe they are destined to greater things now, e.g. their very first world cup participation, this could be a deadly tool against their opponents.
Recently the Ethiopian football got a major sponsorship deal of Over 1.3 Million US Dollars with Heinekens,MTN also has come on board to sponsor them not to talk of the huge Private financial aid they have from The world’s 43rd richest person, Mohammed Hussein Ali Al Amoudi of Ethiopia!
What should Nigeria Do?
Nigeria has to forget completely the encounter with Ethiopia at the recently concluded AFCON in South Africa. Judgement on their strength based on this is completely deceptive! When Nigeria played them then they were already eliminated, fielded their second team line up and though we won 2-0 it was thanks to Two late Penalty strikes by Victor Moses !
Nigeria has to take them “Red Light” serious! this is the moment where no stone needs to be left unturned. Scouting in detail of the Ethiopian team is paramount, tactics here will be a deciding factor and the early preparation of travelling logistics will be key.
Player for player Nigeria has a better team than Ethiopia,however,where the Ethiopians have an advantage is that collectively they operate better as a team!
It is paramount that Nigeria does not lose the first leg, Which is in Ethiopia. The return leg in now Fetish Calabar or anywhere in Nigeria will be better negotiable to pave the way to Brazil 2014!
Relatively, our 1st Group contenders were not so good as the Ethiopians and we had some brushes with disaster thanks to some late minute equalizers and winners, a group that had Malawi, Kenya and Namibia. With all due respect these teams (though there are no more easy nations) should not be issues for a great Nation like Nigeria.
Complacency, in fighting or any form of experiments should be put on hold now at least till Nigeria qualifies for this all important World Cup proper!
If there is one moment where humility comes into play and is worth more than Gold, it is now. We are better than Ethiopia,have better players and have a better history,but all that counts for nothing if we take this formidable opponent lightly.
Should the super Eagles not play at it’s very best Vs Ethiopia -home and away- Nigeria (God forbid) will be eliminated!
This is way a much better team than the teams we faced in our First Round group stage and should we fail to realise that fact, then Nigeria is doomed to elimination!