By; Obiweluozo Martins
The Home Eagles have been knockout of the CHAN 2016 tournament in Kigali, Rwanda and the hope of Nigeria and claiming another trophy on the African scene have been dashed as their elimination in the hands of the Guineas sealed their fate. The Home Eagles were beaten by the less fancied Guineans courtesy of a goal by Ibrahima Sankhon in the 45th minute of the match.
It was a forgettable day for Nigeria football lover as we were glued to our seat being entertained by defeat in the hand of a team that we should be able to overcome as the other group foes Tunisia were walloping Niger Republic, may be Nigerians would have wished that one of Tunisia’s goal was transferred to Nigeria to earn us a favourable point for a passage to the next wound.
The Guineans never relented as they have their own plan which is to beat Nigeria in the slogan of “how are the mighty (Nigeria) fallen”.
With the elimination and a total contrast from the previous game, it showed that something went wrong for the team. Who knows, may be from the team or from their approach to the game.
SoccerNet Nigeria evaluates the lessons learnt from Nigeria’s exit in the hand of the Syli Nationale of Guinea.
THE CHIKATARA FACTOR
|The forward whose absence from start was dismal for the Eagle against Guinea.|
Today, it was clearly evident that young lad called Chisom Chikatara was the one carrying Nigeria’s banner in this tournament, that the rest were followers.
The Home Eagles registered 5 goal in 3 matches before elimination and one player out of the possible featuring players from the 23 man squad, scored 80% of the goals for the team, which is 4 goals. The other one goal is credit to high flying Osas Okoro, and the question is where and what was other forward doing in the tournament. It was when the forward came into the game that the Eagle began to gather psychological momentum.
The quality and composure he brings into the game cannot be taken away from his inherent intelligence. His runs and movement was menacing on his entrance into the pitch. The forward presence casted fear and burden into the Guineans as they restored to desperate defending and packing the bus as his arrival threatened the back four which was clear as he narrowed nodded wide away from goal, spring up for the header even when he was not fully (fit) in his element. Nigerians would have much to ponder as their golden Boy came when it seemed too late as the damage had already be done as they conceded just few minute before the intermission.
THE EAGLES MIDFIELD FAILED TO COORDINATE
The Eagles’ midfield was a shadow of itself as the midfield players failed to organize themselves into credible positions and string quality forwards passes together. Once again they resorted to long ball and to many long passes, always hitting the ball up in absolute assumption to locate an immobile attack in transition.
It never worked and would never work for Nigeria unless we will be expecting a Christmas gift from the whirl-wind. Here Onobi was just anonymous, you could see a white jersey but you could not see Onobi. It was a shambolic performance from our midfield as the Guineans took initiative to carve out a niche in the Nigerian defence for their so called victory.
The midfield was immobile and lack the calmness and composure to keep possession in succession but kept on making errors as so many passes were misplaced in the midfield. They lack the concentration to settle down and pass the ball into the channels and the wings for dangerous move in the final third. It was a performance the Nigerian midfield was clearly not up to the billing.
CHAOTIC DEFENDING AT THE BACK
|Chima Akas, one of the culprit as he failed to inspire from the defence line.|
The defence was a major concern from the start to finish not just because of the goal conceded but because Nigeria could have conceded more as they opened up the back line for the Guineans to run riot.
They opened up the back line as a moment of confusion and indefinite decision which led to the more illustrations winner. The defenders once again compounded the game as clearance were poor with the ball still hanging around in Nigerian defence. You wonder whether they need black board schooling to do better. When it was require for the defender to chest trap and pass to his team mate (pass to the nearest man) to continue the flow of our build up in search of goal, the ball was aimlessly kicked up or nodded into the opponent zone for a continued dominance against the Home Eagles, the defend could not live up to the expectation as they could not coordinate at the back to help out the midfielders, in the battle to regain control of the game.
They displayed lack of composure as they continuously gave away possession cheaply to the opponent. They all have themselves to blame as they all with their poor outing against Guinea are heading back home earnestly.
THE INEFFECTIVE TUNDE ADENIJI
The news of the unavailability of star boy Chisom Chikatara from the onset drew cold blood among Nigerians as anxiety were generated towards Nigeria toward line. Those fears and worries came to negative manifestation as his replacement Tunde Adeniji failed to inspire from the same position.
Those quality and sleek movement from the “Kolanut boy” was missing as Tunde Adeniji failed himself and the team. His runs were not timed and his first touch was a really wrong one as he clattered into the midst of Guinea on couple of occasion. At some point he was seen turning towards Nigeria goal as if he was under illusion as to where the Guinea goal is.
His position was not good enough and he could not spark off the team in the final third with brilliant runs as it was spotted where Usman Mohammed bust through the middle to square a pass but instead he was running behind the defence rather than coming out for the ball as Usman cut inside and blasted over the bar fuming towards Adeniji as he was presented with lack of passing options.
Such was his performance as he was replaced by a more enterprising Onyedikachi Bright whom Nigerians had wishes started the game as he made some telling contribution to the encounter, far more than his substitute.