Wetin Musa no go see for gate (or as Musa didn’t start) wetin Maduka Okoye no go see for post? From ‘fine boy’ comments to ‘fine for nothing’ indeed in a matter of days public figures can move from being Heroes to Villains in Nigeria and a lot or reasons have been shorn out for the unceremonious ouster of the Super Eagles – from Reno Omokri ’Bad Energy from President Buhari’ theory to ‘Poor Officiating’ from the Coach himself – Austin Eguavoen even to the mysterious connection of Desmond Elliot as the reason for Super Eagles loss to Tunisia leaves me in awe of how we view circumstances and even cast Judgements.
Truth be told – Nigeria simply did not have a team to contend for the Afcon, like I wrote some days ago, we defeated Egypt in our opening match in grand style but that doesn’t translate to us being good for the World Cup trophy, there is a day light between winning a match (even if it is against Brazil) and winning a World cup where there is no Brazil, Germany or France.
To win a major tournament a lot of things need to be in place, the most important is having a good team, I mean a team that is a blend of experience (not necessarily old players) and Youth, when Nigeria won in 1994 the Okochas and Amokachis weren’t more experienced than the Iwobis and Moses Simons but then they had Peter Rufai, Stephen Keshi et al and this wasn’t just a function of their age but they had experienced how to be disadvantaged in a crucial point (like Iwobi’s red card) and triumph, how to cope with antics or negative tactics, how to cope with failed tactics and how to respond to all manners of situations.
Even the triumphant U23 of Atlanta 96 had that and that is why they could come from 3-1 down to defeat Brazil.
And I think that is what Rohr and Amaju Pinnick were trying to fix when they went to Ighalo and Victor Moses begging for a return till after the World cup in December.
All of a sudden our National team is always made up of the youngest and inexperienced players in every tournament, Even Vincent Enyeama said at the point of his retirement that since he joined the Super Eagles in 2002 they had always been rebuilding, till date we still say we are building a team for the future which never seems to come, just like the opportunity for our ‘leaders of tomorrow’.
Uzoho kept in the World cup in 2018 and was benched for ‘mistakes that didn’t lead to goals’ then came in Akpeyi for Afcon 2019 who made his mistake during the Semifinals against Algeria which he admitted he had learnt from and in 2022 it’s Okoye’s turn.
Sometimes when players and Coaches make mistakes maybe we should enjoy the advantage of people who have learnt lessons instead of discarding them and bringing in the ones who are yet to make theirs till the time they do.
Southampton can draw Manchester City in a match but will not finish the league near them because winning the toughest match is different from winning the easiest tournament.