Super Eagles’ ‘Sure Key’ To Success
Until it found that player that mattered: Rashidi Yekini. Short of 1980 when we won the Africa Cup of Nations on home Soil and the “Mathematician” Segun Odegbami, mattered.
What made YEKINI so special? Well, he became the skin on the Super Eagles’ bones of steel and that made Nigeria’s Super Eagles beautiful.
He scored 75 per cent of the goals that qualified Nigeria to its first World Cup (USA 1994), was the highest team scorer as Nigeria won the Nations Cup for the first time outside its shores and, had age and injuries not been a hindrance, would have guided Nigeria even further.
Rashidi at his prime was by far the best Striker Africa ever had and one of the world’s best.
ENTER Emmanuel ‘Chinenye’ Emenike.
He has scored eight goals in eight games for Nigeria, was the top team scorer as Nigeria won its third Nations Cup in South Africa in 2013 and, once again, was the saviour on a day Nigeria seemed to be digging itself into the ground and out of the 2014 Brazil World Cup.
Against Ethiopia he scored the two golden away goals that are practically synonymous with qualification. Yes, Emmanuel Emenike is Nigeria’s long awaited “Rashidi Yekini” , match winner and Key to Success.
What Makes him Special?
He plays direct football like Rashidi. A striker who runs sideways to stay sideways is practically not a striker. Emenike gives team-mates the direct route option to goal by initial sideways runs ending in blistering runs at goal.
We have had some good strikers in the past since Yekini retired but we have never had any at the Super Eagles level who has been so tailor made for Nigeria’s playing style.
He has a shot like a bullet: Ivory Coast’s goalkeeper, Boubacar Barry,can attest to the ferocity of Emenike’s shooting, as it blew past him in that fateful quarterfinal encounter at the Afcon 2013.
He is built like a bull: This man is so strong it is frightening to opponents but good for Nigeria.
Speed factor: Generally, tall strikers lose out in pace but not this 1.8m tall, 26-year-old “pacy” and hefty striker.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO USE HIM?
The team has to be consciously built around him. The World Cup will pitch Nigeria against tactically and technically stronger teams. Sacrifices have to be made by team-mates to put him in his best position to finish for Nigeria.
Team tactics that would link talented passing midfielders like John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses to intentionally provoked spaces forward, would trigger the best strikes from Emenike.
Should you still harbour some elements of doubt, ask yourself, How were the Super Eagles fortunes before Emenike’s breakthrough and during his injury-provoked absence after Afcon 2013? Then compare them to his return Crystal clear difference wouldn’t you say?
Team work is paramount in modern football but individuals make up a team and some individuals, like Lionel Messi, Frank Ribery, Vincent Enyeama, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Emmanuel Emenike, make teams exceptional and victorious. In short, they make the difference.
Though, as we go to press, Nigeria is yet to officially qualify, in going forward it is obvious that this is one star Nigeria cannot do without as it strives to regain its rightful place amongst the world’s best.
Nigeria’s Super Eagles, where is your catalyst to success? His name Is EMMANUEL EMENIKE!