The hashtag now for the Super Eagles is #Let’s do it again – that is, let the team fly again to be champions of Africa 10 years after they did so in South Africa.
We are even told that this is serious business as President Bola Tinubu will soon launch this mission statement.
But on the evidence of what the Super Eagles showed against Saudi Arabia in Portimao, a fourth AFCON crown in February, which is five months from now, looks a little far-fetched, more like a fantasy.
The three-time African champions have been handed a fair first round draw at the AFCON against hosts Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea and Guinea Bissau.
The team will be expected to get through to the knockout rounds of the delayed AFCON, ideally as winners of Group A particularly as the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire are not exactly firing on all cylinders amid talks that the country’s football federation are more focused on staging a befitting tournament.
One may sound like a broken record, but the Eagles have not hit the heights under coach Jose Peseiro, don’t be blown away by the 16 goals they fired past minnows Sao Tome and Principe in the AFCON qualifiers.
The Eagles made a hard work of it against a Saudi Arabian team who have lost their last six matches and did not exactly stretch them Friday night.
Shock winners over Argentina at last year’s World Cup, The Green Falcons were there to be slaughtered, but the star-studded Eagles left them off the hook with their wastefulness in front of goal as well as the blunders back in defence.
Peseiro has come out to defend goalkeeper Francis Uzoho for the schoolboy error that gave the Saudis the lead against the run of play, but even he would be concerned about the quality of the goalkeepers available to him.
Maduka Okoye is not playing regularly in Italy with Udinese after he failed to make the grade with Watford in England for the same reason, while Adeleye Adebayo has yet to fully convince with the Super Eagles.
A number of options like Owen Goodman and Tobias Lawal have been suggested, but will it be a gamble the coach will wish to take for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers next month against Lesotho and Zimbabwe?
The defence Friday night let in two goals from set pieces with only Semi Ajayi in the back four posting a decent outing.
Calvin Bassey was again rash in his tackles in the heart of the back four, while both Bruno Onyemaechi and Tyronne Ebuehi looked good when they joined the attack, but struggled to defend their own goal.
In midfield, stand-in captain Wilfred Ndidi has stepped up his game after a slump in form, but Alex Iwobi and Joe Aribo do not have the creativity the country’s abundant striking talents desperately need to translate club form to the Super Eagles.
After the international break, the likes of Victor Osimhen, Victor Boniface, Terem Moffi, Kelechi Iheanacho and Ademola Lookman will be back scoring goals for their clubs in Europe again.
But like Peseiro himself admitted, he will have to strike the right balance in all departments of the team for the Super Eagles to really do it again.
Clearly, a team of 11 strikers cannot do the business.