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Odegbami: Terrible Advertisement For Super Eagles!

Odegbami: Terrible Advertisement For Super Eagles! 

I was half way through writing this week’s article titled ‘the Reality and the Fallacy in Nigerian Sports’ when I paused to watch the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifying group match between Nigeria and Central African Republic, CAR, played in Lagos, Nigeria, on Thursday night.

I should have known better and stuck to my writing. Instead, I relaxed and waited to see how Gernot Rohr, the German handler of the Nigerian team, would finally prove everyone (and that includes me) that has declared he was not good enough to handle the Super Eagles of Nigeria wrong!

High expectations by Nigerians at this time were not unfounded.

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This start of season, many of the Nigerian players in various clubs all over Europe have been performing well. At the same time, Nigeria had never been more patient with a coach (foreign or local) as they have been with Gernot Rohr. He is into his fifth year virtually coaching the Super Eagles, because I don’t see how else he could have been impacting them with his style and tactics from his home in Europe. At the same time, no coach had given Nigerians the sort of heart breaks at crucial times as has Gernot. No coach has also earned more money and done so little to justify it by impacting the domestic game.

Also Read: – 2022 WCQ: CAR’s Wild Beasts Shock Super Eagles With Win In Lagos

Zenith Ziva

Through the decades of my experiences in Nigerian football, no coach has been more vigorously defended by his Nigerian employers for work not-done with results as Gernot Rohr. Come to think of it, he has been a good scout but a poor coach.

In short, coming into last Thursday’s match, and understanding the evolution of this national team under the German, everyone seemed willing to give in to the conclusion that Rohr was finally on a lucky cruise to Qatar 2022.

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Last week, in previewing the match, I wrote only two paragraphs about it in my column because there was little to write about the overwhelming advantage and superiority of the megastars of the Nigerian team over their lowly rivals, a team of ordinary players playing in a country without any football pedigree. So, I wrote off the Central Africans as if they did not even exist, and predicted that Nigeria’s firepower upfront would be too much for the African football minnows to handle.

CAR are a national team that stood NO chance against any middle-level national team in African football. The country is almost one hundred places below Nigeria on the world rankings, and thirty below her in Africa. The two teams do not belong to the same planet. CAR do not have any number of professional players in Europe, and have do not have any record of substance or significance against any African national team in their history. In short, CAR do not exist in the psyche of Africans as a football threat. In any competition since African football began to be documented and followed by me, I cannot recall a single match played (not even won) by CAR that created even the gentlest of ripples in African football.

I am struggling very hard not to be disrespectful to the country (because I should not be) considering that I should know that in sport anything is possible, except that CAR would come to the hallowed ground in Nigeria and defeat the ‘giant’.

It is one of the worst results ever by the national team of Nigeria.  It will go down in the history books.

The story of last Thursday is that an ordinary team without any class, but full of determination and fighting spirit, came to Lagos, the slaughter-house of big African teams, to humble, to disgrace and to remove the ‘Super’ from the appellation of the Nigerian national team. I am still surprised that the moon did not come crashing down on the planet in protest of a sacrilege.

Just so that it does not appear I am disrespectful to the Central African country, let me tell a bit more about CAR and its football.

At a time in the history of African football, European national teams never played friendly matches against African national teams. The standards were so far apart that it was considered disrespectful to them to come down to Africa’s low level. The best African national teams were not considered good enough even to play against top European Clubs. So, the best that happened were friendlies against 2nd, 3rd or even 4th division European clubs in Europe.

Also Read – Rohr: Super Eagles Will Avenge Shock Loss To CAR In Douala

In Africa, the national football team of Central African Republic were to Africa what Africa’s national teams were to Europe. Even African countries never sought them out for international friendlies except when they needed morale-boosting easy matches. They were only considered only good enough to play against African clubs. That’s how I had my own experience.

Incidentally, in 1973, I played my first international football match against the national football team of CAR at the Liberty Stadium, Ibadan. It was one of the friendly matches lined up to boost the confidence and morale of the Western Lions, the Western State Festival football team, preparing for the first National Sports Festival. I scored my very first international goal in that match. Our assembly of local players in the region trounced CAR by 4 clear goals. That’s how I got to know about the country and followed their football story since then.

CAR’s place and ranking in African football have hardly changed in almost 50 years. With this victory other African teams shall start to take them more seriously and appreciate the new threat they may now pose.

CAR were supposed to come to Nigeria, to be ‘chopped to pieces’ by the Eagles and the colourful and vociferous Lagos crowd, and the points used to shore up Nigeria’s leadership on the table and to secure her a place in Qatar 2022.

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The Wild Beasts of CAR at the Teslim Balogun Stadiim Lagos

Then the totally unexpected happened. Needless to go into the match details because most Nigerians watched it and can tell their own experience and story.

I am still in a state of shock and unbelief. The hottest shots and front-runners with dazzling performances in their European club championships and leagues could not create a single goal-scoring chance in 96 minutes. The Super Eagles did not ‘fire’ a single clear shot at the goal of CAR, not even once.

The end was an ugly sight to behold. The Eagles abandoned any traces of a tactic they never had to start with, began passing unhurriedly, side-ways and even backwards, followed by long, high balls searching for Osimhen’s head in the crowded CAR defense that was well organized to disorganize the hapless Nigerian forwards. With that singular tactic the match could have lasted a whole week and the Super Eagles would not have had one clear sight of the CAR goal, talk less of scoring a goal.

Throughout the entire match, the CAR players did not string together more than 3 passes at any one time. They came with a local coach with a simple but crude strategy that worked against a team coached by a German ‘expert’ coach that had been working on, and with, the largest collection of African professional players in Europe, and succeeded.

CAR were presented two-half chances throughout the match. They scored one giving rise to one of the saddest results in Nigeria’s football history.

It was a poor match and a bad advertisement for Nigerian football. The Super Eagles were without spine and purpose. They looked disjointed, playing without a discernible pattern or style.

This defeat is unacceptable. It is a dent on Nigeria’s reputation in football. It is disgraceful and unacceptable. Nigeria can lose to any team in the world, but not in the shambolic manner this one happened. It is only in Nigeria that a coach with abysmal records at critical times would still be calling the shots in one hand and giving Nigerians nightmares in the other.

If the Super Eagles had fought like proper eagles by raiding the CAR defense endlessly and failed to score or win, it would be understandable. But to play and crumble the way they did is a nightmare that will live with those of us that have entrenched interests in Nigerian football for a long time to come.

If this is a dream, can someone, please, wake me up.

 

Segun Odegbami
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COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 13
  • Mr. Nice 1 week ago

    I expected this, one lost and everyone has suddenly discovered their writing mojo, the fact that you didn’t come out to congratulate or encourage this team when they qualified easily for the Africa nations cup and won the first 2 matches of this qualifying stage already you unqualified to write objectively about this team.

     
    • Nana Austine 1 week ago

      The level of football and expectations of Nigerians and the world is beyond celebrating that we are doing fine during qualification matches,we are to win tournaments with the caliber of players we have.

       
    • Oni Akin 1 week ago

      Question is, can a local coach be given this much time when it is clearly shown repeatedly he has no acumen…? And speaking of afcon qualifications, beating the like of comoros island is not much of a brag now I’m..is it?

       
    • Mr Stephen 1 week ago

      Our first two matches did leave so much to be desire against teams like Liberia and Cape Verde, the good thing is that we won. So, it is not a surprise we can be this dreadful. I am not a fan of this Coach and not afraid to say it, he has no first eleven, imagine a coach in the friendly matches against Cameroon invited someone( Valentine Ozornwafor) who did not play a combined 30 minutes of football for a whole season in a lowly rated Chaleroi.
      With the crop of players against CAR in Nigeria we did not have one shot on target.
      How do we improve if we turn a blind eyes to these?

       
      • Mr. Nice 1 week ago

        Obviously you did not watch the match to claim the super eagles did not have a single shot on target, at least 3 shots on target could have easily entered the net, one from Osimhen that hit the top bar and another one from Awoniyi that touched the leg of the keeper, you people will not watch match but to criticize is all we now how to do best.

         
    • @Mr. Nice,
      from this your comment, I can clearly see that your sense of reasoning is shallow.

      Some learned Nigerian have been talking but NFF refused to listen and people like you continue to celebrate a mediocre.

      Your expert has coached Eagles for five solid years with no single pattern of playing. Technical input during games is always zero. Even a student that gained admission to university to study engineering same day Rohr was employed would have graduated by now.

      If CAR coach could trained local boys like what we saw last Thursday in Lagos then you guys should imagine what he would have done if he has Nigerian talented players in his camp.

      CAR coach has presented the effect of good coach in a team. It’s now left for those that are still blind to see.

      God bless Nigeria.

       
  • GLORY 1 week ago

    A saddist egocentric write up. Always full ‘Is’. Forever fighting a loss battle of his bruised ego. I truly love the situation as it is, because you lots will return to your caves with tail tugged perfectly between your leg very soon. WE ARE NOT OBLIVIOUS OF THE DARK ACTS BEHIND TAKING THAT GAME TO TESLIM BALOGUN STADIUM JUST LIKE YOU DID NIGHT BEFORE THAT INFAMOUS GAME SIASIA MANAGED.EVIL PEOPLE ALL AROUND.DISGUSTING LOTS DICEIVING THEMSELVES WITH CLAIMS OF LOVE FOR NIGERIA WHEN THE AVERAGE STRUGGLING MAN N WOMAN ON THE STREET KNOW BETTER. KNOW THIS TODAY, WHILE THE SERPENT IS ALLOWED TO BITE, ITS FANG HAS BEING NULLIFIED BY THE PRESCIOUS BLODD OF JESUS CHRIST. ROHR ISNT PERFECT AND YES WE CAN POSITIVELY EXPRESS OUR DISAPPOINTMENT BUT WICKEDNESS WILL WANT TO JUST CELEBRATE HIS LIL BLIP. I WILL RATHER DIE WITH ROHR THAN LISTEN THIS SELFISH SADDIST WHO HAS VIRTUALLY CONTRIBUTED NOTHING TO OUR SPORTS SINCE HIS FOOTBALL DAYS. THE TOKYO OLYMPICS MONUMENTAL DISGRACE IS STILL VERY FRESH. GOD BLESS GERNOT ROHR, GOD BLESS THE COACHING CREW, GOD BLESS ALL DESERVING SE PLAYERS, GOD BLESS NIGERIA. WE GO DUALA AND COME BACK WITH RESOUNDING VICTORY AND NOT JUST WIN. ONLY JESUS CHRIST OUR N GOD ALMIGHTY DESERVES TO PRAISED AND NOT SOME FAILED EGOIST.

     
  • GLORY 1 week ago

    @ brodaman Oakfield, to be honest, if I were to be Rohr, I’ d parked my bag and leave that God forsaken country with the majority of mindset set to self destruction. Without saying, a country where everyone thinks about self self self is cursed. Just one loss with team still topping grey haired men throwing tantrum. That only tells their anger is only for their empty belly that Rohr may have starved for a long time now.I CAN NEVER BE DECIEVED BY THIER FAKE LOVE FOR NIGERIA. I HAVE SEEN ENOUGH OF THEIR TYPE COME N DO SAME AS PREVIOUS.

     
    • Oakfield 1 week ago

      U know the funny truth, that garbage up there was prepared way back before we played cape Verde away last month. He thought rohr would slip but to God be the glory, He gave that innocent man that means well for us victory to the shame of the devil and his agents of which this chief ex cricket international is one of them if not the head. We been here before and as usual, Rohr would have the last laff. Shebi they came like vipers after the Liberia game but what later happened at last? We later won the group with a game to spare yet again. While everybody was congratulating the team including mr minister, this evil man did not even utter a word. In fact, it was as if he never existed. He suddenly went dumb like a dead man. We know them. God will give rohr victory again, He will prepare a table before him in the presence of his enemies again. Mark my words. We shall all be here when it shall happen. They’ve forgotten so fast the keshi story when we won the nations cup in 2013 against all odds. They (including this idiot) had already prepared his sack letter while the team was still in south africa about to face ivory coast after a string of disappointing results but God had his own plans and gave Keshi victory. Eventually, keshi brought them to their miserable knees when he eventually won the cup and they begged him like lepers when he threatened resignation. You know, evil men hardly learn from experience and they forget so easily. Peace be upon rohr and his team. It is well.

       
  • Austeddy 6 days ago

    The problem with many Nigerian is that we forget so soon. Can we still remember how Nigeria could not qualify for Nations’ cup because of technical imbalances of our local coaches and heaven didn’t fall.
    Where was Odegbami then? Since he last placed for Nigeria, he should have gone to coaching school and come to deliver so that we will know that he knows what is doing. I hate reading his comments on Nigeria Sports because he is always bias in his judgment. Almighty Brazil was beating in their own land 7-1 by Germany and the coach was not killed but here in Nigeria, it is the mediocres that will first raise their voices. for your information, game of football is you win some and you lose some. If heaven did not fall when winning there is no reason why heaven should fall when you lose

     
  • Let us also remember how the late Stephen Keshi had mainly local players to win AFCON , qualified for World Cup and got to the second round, Let us remember that the late Amodu Shuaibu qualified Nigeria for the World cup twice and was not allowed to take the team to both tournaments just because he could only win bronze in the Afcon that preceded both World Cups.So what has Rohr done that make some of you to be defending him like as if he has done what no Nigerian coach has been able to do. Westerhof was the only coach before now that spent five years coaching the super eagles and we all saw what he did in those five years, he brought his philosophy to bear on the team , he scouted local players from the Nigerian local leagues and brushed them up to become super stars , at the end he won AFCON and qualified Nigeria for the World Cup and left a crack and respectable team that other African teams dreaded playing against. Rohr has spent almost five years and our National team is getting worse under his watch inspite of the talents we presently have. The claim that super eagles was struggling to qualify for any tournament before Rohr came is not an excuse for him to spend Five years coaching our team only to turn the SUPER EAGLES into an embarrassment. The super eagles was struggling just before he came because many of our regular internationals had just quit the team or retired so there was a vaccum that needed sometimes to be filled, during that period you will expect the team to struggle, it happens to all National teams. Please , stop defending this man, mathmatical Odegbami is one of our heros, anyone calling him names or insulting him because of his PATRIOTISM – i say shame on you

     
  • @Frank Smith, Name the first 11 of the so called “Mainly local players” that qualified us for the world cup under Keshi.