Nigeria thrashed the small island nation 10-0 on Monday to open a wide goals margin at the top of Group A
Reactions have poured in from Nigeria’s 10-0 win against Sao Tome & Principe and as expected, they’ve been a mixture of sheer joy, bridled excitement and calls preaching modesty in jubilation.
Although, the majority of the responses have been set towards hailing the performance of the Super Eagles, but doubters persist, as they’d rather not get carried away so soon.
This isn’t atypical of a Nigerian football fan. Fans of the Super Eagles are some of the most difficult to please in the world and every blemished performance comes with a stick.
The marks of the 2022 World Cup miss won’t disappear in the coming months but the team can’t afford to live under that cloud.
Sao Tomé and Principe could only fight for nine minutes in Agadir and could have been hit for more but for some questionable offside calls and profligacy on the part of Victor Osimhen and Terem Moffi. The scoreline reflected superiority and the gulf in quality between both teams but more importantly for Nigerians and the future, it revealed just what Peseiro is as a manager.
Between 2018 and 2019, the Super Eagles faced Seychelles twice, winning 3-1 at home and 3-0 away. Seychelles on the scale of strength are just as weak as Sao Tome and Principe. They were there for the killing especially in Seychelles but the Super Eagles under Gernot Rohr hardly showed enough urgency in attack.
Through the friendly losses to Mexico and Ecuador in the United States to the games against Sierra Leone and Sao Tome, there’s one thing to hold about Peseiro’s style. He’s a consummate coach who wants his team to always be on top and wants goals.
Chances are coming with regularity under Peseiro even when the team struggled to gain control of the game. Against Ecuador, there were big misses by Moffi and Cyriel Dessers and Sierra Leone was about same.
The pitch in Agadir aided the team and ensured they played to strength and what could be taken away was how much the players ran all game, created scoring situations and chances. A team that fails to create opportunities will always struggle to win a game.
Nigeria on Monday had those chances aplenty and could have won by as much as 15-0. A scoreline of 10-0 is embarrassingly humbling for the islanders but the realisation that it could have been worse sheds some light on the Super Eagles’ growth so far under Peseiro.
There will be tougher opposition ahead and more will be asked of the Portuguese coach, but it’s important to celebrate when a team wins, especially as convincingly and by as much as they’ve done.
The last time Nigeria was as rampant in a game was 9 years ago, and another one should not hurt.