|Ugly scenes as fans clamp down on infrastructure at the MKO Stadium in Abuja after Nigeria's 1-1 draw against Ghana on Tuesday night. (Photo credit: Getty Images)
The Super Eagles broke the heart of every Nigerian on Tuesday night at the MKO Stadium in Abuja where they played out a damaging 1-1 draw against Ghana in their final World Cup qualifying game.
longer news that Nigeria will be missing the World Cup for the second time
since first appearing at the USA 94 edition where the country made a huge mark
with a round of 16 berth, it is imperative however, to examine why the team
failed and the way forward for Nigerian football.
It’s déjà vu with
the 2006 edition that the country missed out on, an avalanche of top talents
that won’t have the opportunity of mixing it with global talents at the FIFA World
Cup, you look at the boys that were finally coopt into the team and you wonder
where they go from here.
Eagles went into the game on Tuesday as clear favorites. On paper and on the
grounds of the quality of players in each squads, you’d be tempted to hand Nigeria
the ticket even before kicking the ball but as always, football knows how to
shock the best of pundits and bookmakers.
Egauvoen bowed to pressure and dumped his initial wing play, favoring a midfield
trio that was expected to stabilize possession and connect with the attack
brilliantly; Etebo, Joe Aribo and Frank Onyeka didn’t live up to that expectation.
and Ademola Lookman were fresh breath but none of the two gave the fans the joy
they came to experience. The tactical deficiency of the manager became obvious
with his panic substitutions, he didn’t read the game, and he just wanted to
get attackers on.
left spaces behind for Nigeria to exploit, long balls to Victor Osimhen was the
only game plan from the midfield and it was quite easy for the Black Stars to
crowd him out, the predictability meant Ghana only conceded two shots on
goalkeeping department has always been a problem. Maduka Okoye may be having a
stellar season at Sparta Rotterdam, he is yet to convince Nigerians that he
deserves the number one spot, the less said about Francis Uzoho the better.
that followed the World Cup miss could have been avoided by a solid security
setup, it was always inevitable considering the mindlessness around, and why
didn’t the security operatives envisage it? Couldn’t they have put measures in
place to disperse the crowd earlier?
There are unconfirmed reports that a CAF Official lost
his life in the process, if that comes back to be the truth, investigations and
bans would follow and does that bode well for a footballing nation like
Where does Nigeria football go from here? When it’s time
for the best in the World to come together to mix it in Qatar, Nigerians would
have no choice than to adopt other nations, it would hurt more then but the big
question is: Where do we go from here?