The CHAN (African Nations Championship) is currently going on in South Africa, it’s a big chance for home/local based players across the continent to advertise and showcase their talents to the world. After the first round of matches, conviction levels is not on the high side as most teams have all flattered to deceive, one of such teams is our Super Eagles of Nigeria.
This brings me to a question, are these boys the best we can come up with locally to build or is it safe to call them the “CHANce Super Eagles considering their shambolic display in game one against the Malians? So many questions have been raised after there sorry start to life in South Africa, who gave these set of boys the chance to play for Nigeria, how were they spotted, is this the best that Keshi and his technical crew can come up with, was the term “stage-fright” a valid excuse for the boys and so on…? If the first game against Mali is anything to go by, I won’t be so wrong to rate the home based eagles below average.
I read somewhere that the NPFL (Nigeria Professional Football League) is the most competitive in the world. Funny yeah? If the point(s) that separates the eventual winners from the runners up is what we consider, then it must be true. However, the display of the home based Eagles against their counterparts from Mali has drawn the one million dollar question on the lips of millions of Nigerians who are still basking in the success that football in the Nation enjoyed in 2013.
-“Are these the best crop of home based players we can boast of”? Yes we all know its our first appearance in the competition and it must be said that a couple of players who helped Nigeria qualify for the competition are either outside the country in search of greener pastures or down with injuries. Particularly our Nations Cup hero, Sunday Mba who recently completed a move to French 2nd division side – CA Bastia. Also, our brightest prospect in the just concluded FIFA U17 world cup, Kelechi Iheanacho who had to leave camp to negotiate a deal with English outfit, Manchester City. Striker, Gambo Muhammed picked up an hamstring injury and left full back Adeyinka Adedeji also got injured somewhere along the line. It must be said that head coach, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi had very little time to look into possible and perfect replacements for the guys that left the CHAN team. but on the other hand, the guys Stephen Keshi selected are arguably the best the Nation can boast of right now, as a couple of them have been part of the Super Eagles team for quite a while now or was it a case of “let us give you a CHANce?”
Players like, Chigozie Agbim (GK) and skipper of the side, Azubuike Egwuekwe in the heart of defense, Joshua Obaje in the midfield and Gbolahan Salami upfront. Also, a couple of other familiar names like Solomon Kwambe, Francis Benjamin, Kunle Odunlami, Umar Zango, Barnabas Imenger, Daniel Akpeyi and Ifeanyi Ede. Former flying eagles players, Abdullahi Shehu and Christian Pyagbara and lastly, FIFA U17 world cup winner, Dele Alampasu. Stephen Keshi worked with 17 debutants in 14 months to the African Cup of Nations in South Africa and we all know the outcome. As much as the coaches take the blame and credit for teams performance, I think we should cut the Eagles and Keshi some slack. My only worry is that with this kind of showing, the home based Eagles look like they will be complaining about segregation for a long time as regards selection to the National team except they raise their games. As expected, the North Africans, Congo and South Africa are favorites to win the competition. The strength and quality of their league speaks volume. Also, their successes in the African Champions League and Confederatons cup explains better.
After all said and done, I think that the home based Eagles will improve with time but do they stand a CHANce of qualifying against South Africa in their final group game despite coming back from a goal down to beat the Mozambicans 4-2 last night? Time will definitely tell, it’s still very difficult to predict the team’s style of play, the perfromance is also very far from convincing but just like the technical crew had given this team a CHANce to prove themselves in South Africa, let’s all give the CHAN team an equal CHANce of excelling in this tournament. I have learnt over time that there is no such word as ‘IMPOSSIBILTY’.
Thanks for reading