IKENWA NNABUOGOR warns that Super Eagles must quit showing undue respect to big teams and get down to real business
Brazil would have made a mincemeat of a fearful and over-respecting Super Eagles had Francis Uzoho and mother luck not paid a timely visit to the Nigerian side in an entertaining 1-1 draw with Brazil in Thursday’s friendly in Singapore.
What remained of the Eagles’ first half assuring self was laid bare for the five-time world champions in the second half of the clash as Eagles struggled and chased shadows in the lacklustre second half performance.
Eagles were a shadow of their first half selves as they evidently showed star-studded Selecao undue respect and left the hitherto bewildered South Americans to be on cruise control as the game hit the home stretch.
Scotland-based midfielder Joe Ayodele-Aribo proved his goal-scoring debut against Ukraine in Dnipro last month was not a fluke as he collected a pass inside the Brazil vital area from Moses Simon, dribbled his way through and smashed home to put Nigeria ahead in the 35th minute.
The rest of the first half after the shocker was just Eagles’ as the Brazilians looked ordinary.
But all that changed in the second half as if they were warned not return home should they lose to Nigeria and began to play as if they lives depended on this friendly.
Could the Eagles have remembered all of a sudden they must show some respect to the five-time world champions in the second half and struggled all through?
Sense of urgency deserted the poor Eagles, left yawning spaces in between players for the Brazilians to launch attack time and time again and shamefully resigned to defending desperately and frantically.
Pretty sad enough, they capitulated to allowing the South Americans to run things in their half. Uzoho and sheer luck prevented a basket full of goals.
Though Eagles showed some flashes of brilliance and promise for the little chances they managed going forward, but lacked the technical savvy to punish the not too impressive Brazil back line.
Lille striker Victor Osinhem proved again he could be on to bigger things, but lacked enough support from Samuel Chukwueze, who appeared overwhelmed by the Brazilian big names and the impressive Simon Moses.
Same scenario played out in the last friendly against Ukraine last month, where the Eagles surprisingly allowed the average Ukrainians to come back into the game and forced a 2-2 after Eagles had taken a well-deserved 2-0 lead.
Eagles must as a matter of fact play with 100 percent confidence and show no respect to any team to reclaim their world class top status in 1994, when they ranked fifth in the world.
Kudos must be given to coach Gernot Rohr for putting together a relatively young side and a lot more should be done to boost their confidence and psyche to face big name countries.
Football is business and the Eagles must get down to that.