Portugal humiliated Nigeria 4-0 in Lisbon on the eve of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar
Nigeria football hero Segun Odegbami concurs with Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes that the Super Eagles are weak and below the standard expected of the former African champions.
What did Fernandes say?
Bruno Fernandes scored twice as Portugal, without Cristiano Ronaldo, defeated Nigeria 4-0 in Lisbon on November 17.
The Selecao dominated all facets of the friendly match and could have scored more against the not-so-Super Eagles.
After the encounter, Fernandes revealed his disappointment with the quality of opposition out up by the Nigerians.
The following comments were credited to the Manchester United star: “Our match against Nigeria was not on the standard we wanted. Their level was not on a world-class required standard.
“So here in Qatar, we will face the World’s best. We wanted to play a tough national team, but all of them were already occupied. Nigeria was the only one available. They didn’t test us at all.”
Fernandes is factual – Odegbami
Super Eagles midfielder John Ogu expressed outrage at Bruno Fernandes’ scathing insults on Twitter.
1980 Africa Cup of Nations-winning forward Segun Odegbami, however, views the episode differently.
The former Shooting Stars winger agrees with Fernandes’ submission and admits that the Super Eagles are not the force they used to be.
In his Complete Sports column, the 70-year-old wrote: “Bruno Fernandes, the talismanic player in the heart of Portugal’s midfield, described the Nigerian national team’s performance, after they met in Portugal’s last friendly match before Qatar 2022, as weak and of very low standard.
“Fernandes’s words hurt and haunt. Yet, they speak the facts. Nigerian football is in a limbo, like a rudderless ship in the middle of the sea.”
Odegbami blamed incompetent and visionless leadership for the decay in the country’s football, which began at the turn of the millennium.
“That’s the catastrophe that has befallen Nigerian football in the past two decades, silently and steadily, in the hands of inexperienced leadership, to the point where the Super Eagles and clubs in the domestic league now play without a discernible style and organisation.
“To the point where a Bruno Fernandes would have the audacity to describe Nigerian football as weak and of low standard.”
What is the way forward?
Segun Odegbami is convinced that no improvement will be witnessed until Nigerian football is placed under the control of those knowledgeable and experienced in the ‘deep matters of the beautiful game’.
The 1980 Afcon top scorer also called for a locally groomed solution to the problems bedevilling the Super Eagles.
In conclusion, Odegbami noted: “What we saw of the Eagles against Portugal shortly before Qatar 2022 is Nigerian football at its worst, destroyed by ignorant leaders – weak and of low standards.
“Bruno Fernandes is right after all.
“The problems can never be solved by outsiders but by ourselves for ourselves. The answer also lies here at home.”
Odegbami is Nigeria’s second-highest goalscorer in history, with 22 goals in 47 games.