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Onyemaechi: There Is Lot Of Pressure Playing For Super Eagles

Onyemaechi: There Is Lot Of Pressure Playing For Super Eagles

Super Eagles midfielder Bruno Onyemaechi has emphasized that the expectations from fans create a high-pressure situation for players wearing the Nigeria jersey.

The Boavista defender stated this in an interview with EaglesTracker, where he said that Wilfred Ndidi played a big role in calming the pressure.


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“When you put on the Nigeria shirt, the pressure is too much; you need to win. Even if you are playing in England, even if you are playing for the biggest team in the world, you need to win.

“My teammates in Portugal always tell me the same thing. Nigeria is bigger than Portugal, the pressure.

“The pressure got to me. When the game started, 15 or 20 minutes later, I was a little bit shaky, and some of my teammates noticed, especially Ndidi.

“Ndidi noticed, called me, and told me to be more relaxed because it’s normal.”

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  • This is undeniable! Like England, there’s immense pressure playing for Nigeria, especially for the senior national team, the Super Eagles.

    In fact, the pressure is often more intense than that experienced by players in many top football nations. The Super Eagles of Nigeria can be compared to the Three Lions of England in several respects. Both countries have a strong media presence, both in print and electronic, with an insatiable appetite for wins at every game, including friendly matches. Fans and media alike hold team players and their managers, whether foreign or local, to very high standards. There’s a popular saying that if a new player fails to deliver in their debut match, it could spell the end of their future invitations, as first impressions are crucial. This explains why some players, after their debut, do not get a second chance. It is also not uncommon to see fans booing their teams on home soil, especially when goals are not forthcoming early in the game, even if the team is playing well. This impatience and high pressure from both media and fans often drive the team to success, with players doubling down on their efforts. However, this pressure can sometimes be counterproductive, causing players to make mistakes and lose key games.

    The Nigerian sports media can be very critical of the team, specific players, and the management of the NFF when game outcomes are unfavorable or when players and coaches underperform. A loss against a less favored opponent can bring harsh and relentless criticism. This explains why some top players who excel at their clubs have subdued performances at the national level and some newly hired coaches, particularly the homegrown ones, find it hard keep up with the pace and demands of their roles unlike their contemporaries in other federations.

    This experience is not unique to Bruno Onyemeachi of Boavista; many players have endured similar or even tougher experiences while playing in the national team. Players like Francis Uzoho, Maduka Okoye, Daniel Akpeyi, Chidozie Awaziem, and Paul Onuachu, to name a few, all have their stories to tell. Nearly every player has faced stern and harsh criticism from the press and fans.

    These strong and often disparaging reactions are not unfounded. They likely stem from the nation’s economic challenges and the frustrations of many who look to sports, particularly football, as a source of solace and relief.

    It is hoped that the media and soccer-loving fans will keep their emotions in check and allow reason to prevail, understanding that in the game of sports, we win some and lose some, and fostering a true spirit of sportsmanship.

  • KangA 2 weeks ago

    Soccer is a game meant to relief pressure, after all. It’s good to win, but is it worth skinning our brave players if they have a bad day?  

  • Players need to appreciate that soccer is an emotional sport, and to who much is given, much is expected, playing in top class leagues around the globe raises expectations, and they must give their all in the field of play, for the support, to give them a benefit of doubt, and that’s respect for the homeland, and a sign of patriotism.

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