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Well Done Eagles, Now For the Hard Part; #Lions to Pussycats, Boys to Men!

Well Done Eagles, Now For the Hard Part; #Lions to Pussycats, Boys to Men!

By Mumini Alao
I HAVE BEEN WRITING SOCCERTALK for 32 years now. This is the first time ever that I will be writing one article under a Double Headline as you can see above.

After the Super Eagles responded positively to my challenge to “Die” against Cameroun last Saturday in their 2019 AFCON Round of 16 clash in Alexandria, I felt morally obligated to devote my post-match headline to salute their accomplishment in beating the Indomitable Lions 3-2 and dethroning them as African champions.

Simultaneously, however, I wanted to immediately sound warning bells to the Eagles about the new threat that awaits them in the quarterfinals in the shape of the Bafana Bafana of South Africa. That explains my first headline.

The second headline is simply a dramatic, or, if you like, poetic version of the first. But because I couldn’t fit in the Super Eagles achievement into it’s rendition, I decided simply to write a second headline. So much for Creative Writing 101.

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Back to the football, let me make a confession: I did not watch the Nigeria-Cameroun game live. That’s because, as you must have read from my last article when I urged the Eagles to “die” if necessary, I wanted Nigeria to win so badly that if I had watched live and Cameroun wanted to take a goal kick, I would probably worry that they would score directly from there!

So, instead of working myself up, I simply listened to a radio commentary. It was after the final whistle had gone that I turned on the TV to watch the match highlights and I saw how the two teams conspired to produce a goals galore with some horrendous defending.

Later in the night, I watched fully relaxed a play-back of the game. I make no attempt to take any credits away from the Eagles who demonstrated great courage and determination (exactly what I demanded of them) to come from 2-1 down to win 3-2 against our bitter rivals. But it has to be said that the Cameroun team that I saw last Saturday were so ordinary it would have been a shame if they had beaten us. Rather than roar like the Lions that their moniker typifies, they performed like Pussycats!

In sharp contrast, South Africa showed in their shock elimination of the host country Egypt also last Saturday in Cairo that they have fully grown from boys to men in African football. Let no one be deceived by their moniker “Bafana Bafana” (The Boys, The Boys) anymore. When they gain more experience and hit some consistency in their performance, they will become a real super power on the continent. While the Cameroun lions are becoming pussycats, South Africa’s boys are turning into men.

I watched their game live and the only word that kept cropping up in my mind as they cancelled out the Egyptians with their impressive and tactical organization was “dangerous.” Therefore, it was not a surprise to me when they snatched a late 1-0 win with a quick-fire counter-attacking move that silenced the massive home crowd and left Mohammed Sallah and company no time to recover.

“These South Africans are dangerous,” I have heard many other commentators say since Saturday, using the same word as me: “dangerous.” The Super Eagles must beware.

So, how can the Eagles deal with the danger that the Bafana Bafana represent to their title aspirations? What are South Africa’s strengths and weaknesses and how can the Eagles neutralize those strengths and exploit the weaknesses? What areas do the Eagles themselves need to work on to ensure victory? Which tactical approach should coach Gernot Rohr adopt to counter his opponent Stuart Baxter whose tactical masterclass obviously out-foxed the Egyptians? What should the Eagles starting lineup look like and what is the likely outcome of this match? So many critical questions…

For answers, join me at our fast-growing forum, www.naijasuperfans.com.ng for a full pre-match analysis on match day, Wednesday, 10 July from 10am-12noon and 5pm-8pm. I will be the moderator of both sessions. Let’s have a Conversation on how to beat the South Africans. Register now on our forum. Don’t miss it.

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  • Kayzee 5 years ago

    Match day is 6 July Okwa?

  • Hmmm….
    For Cameroon, they are just unlucky to be coming around whenever Super Eagles are angry.
    ’92, Nigeria 1, Ghana 2..Next (3rd place), Nigeria 1, Cameroon 0
    2016, Nigeria 0, DR Congo 2..Next,
    Nigeria 3, Cameroon 0,
    2018, Nigeria 0, South Africa 2…Next, Nigeria 4, Cameroon 1
    Then 2019, Nigeria 0, Madagascar 2..Next Nigeria 3, Cameroon 2. That’s Histories in Naija favour.
    Truly…South Africa are Dangerous…but Thier danger came too late. They should have met us during group stage before Madagascar Match and shouldn’t have beaten us during qualifiers.
    Nigeria hardly lose Quarter finals…if it’s Semis, I will doubt them.. because it gets to a stage that they started settling for bronze which makes Semis difficult for them. But something in me tells me..South Africa Just like Year 2000 won’t stop us in this Quarter final also.
    Remember, we met Senegal after South Africa in 2000 semifinal and Aghahowa made his name..Now, it’s looking the same may be this time, Osimhen will do.

    • Mr.Naija D 5 years ago

      Spot on bro.

    • Aauxtyne 5 years ago

      2018, Nigeria 0, South Africa 2…Next, Nigeria 4, Cameroon 0.

      • @Aauxtyne, Ezenwa Committed a funny penalty at the dying minute that Aboubarkar scored remember?

        • Ikeben 5 years ago

          That was in the Return leg in Yaounde. The match in Nigeria ended 4:0 while the return leg ended 1:1

    • Ikeben 5 years ago

      little correction: 2017, Nigeria 0, South Africa 2…Next, Nigeria 4, Cameroon 0

      Then I agree with you Cameroon always meets us when we are angry and this is because Cameroon has made us angry many times and has denied us victory many times, even unjustly. So life has way of giving us opportunity to retaliate or respond to those past hurt.

      Correction: In 2000, we met Senegal in Quater final and won 2:1 and defeated SA in Semi final 2:0. So I also see Nigeria beating South Africa, to really shut their mouth after the defeat in Uyo. And Ighalo or Osimhen can get their goals as a replacement to Aghahowa (their all from same kindred). Then after that we could likely face Senegal in Semi-final.

      Wishing Super Eagles sweet revenge against South Africa

    • afollabi Muyideen 5 years ago

      Kudos br, love ur post


    – Libya was stripped of the hosting rights for the 2013 edition and SA replaced them. Cameroun was stripped of the hosting rights for the 2019 edition and Egypt replaced them.

    – In 2013, the structure of the competition was changed from even years to odd years. In 2019, the tournament structure was changed from 16 teams to 24 teams.

    – Nigeria was making a return in 2013 after missing the 2012 edition and then went all the way to win it! It was with a new coach, Stephen Keshi. Nigeria is making a return in 2019 after missing 2 previous editions and will go all the way to win it! Hehe. Plus a new coach too, Rohr.

    – In 2013, Nigeria’s coach endured rumours of a sack while the competition was ongoing as he struggled in the opening games and almost failed to go beyond the first round. In 2019, current Nigeria’s coach, Rohr heard rumours of a likely sack as a majority of the fan base were livid with him for some insipid opening games.

    – In 2013, Nigeria had a part-time captain (Joseph Yobo) who only played bit-parts, got the honour of lifting the trophy and retired not long after. In 2017, Nigeria has a part-time captain (Mikel Obi) who is only playing bit-parts. He will get the honour of lifting the trophy and likely retire from the international scene not long after. Hehe.

    – In 2013, Nigeria was almost knocking out the defending champions (Zambia) at the group stage until they got a dubious penalty at the last minute to survive. In 2019, Nigeria knocked out the defending champions, Cameroun. It was not the group stage, so no other option.

    – Nigeria had a ‘mountain’ to climb at the first knock-out stage and everyone doubted the ability of the team to get past Cote D’Ivoire with some of the biggest names in African football. Mikel Obi assured Nigeria will win and so it happened. The rest of the journey (Mali and Burkina Faso) were less rocky. This year, the big ‘mountain’ was Cameroun. Contrary to people’s silent fears, the match against SA tomorrow may be a breeze – 4-0 as it happened with Mali in 2013 at the SM stage.

    Hope no typographical errors. I was rushing. Hehehe. ADD YOURS.

    • Mr.Naija D 5 years ago

      Another Gboza 4 u bros’ una mind de there_ It was well Chiko’d.
      In a World where the Earth Rotates Men should expect replay of Events.
      thatx my Take though

    • Aauxtyne 5 years ago

      Great! Hope history will favour us this time again.

      In 2019, Nigeria has a part-time captain (Mikel Obi) who is only playing bit-parts. He will get the honour of lifting the trophy and likely retire …

    • afolabi muyideen idris 5 years ago

      I love your post my br.Naija all the way

  • Very well done Kel. Thanks for the hard work and thoughtfulness that went into your piece above.

  • Taiwo Evidence Ige 5 years ago

    @Kel,Great dejavu. Very thoroughly and thoughtfully composed. All will end well for us on Wednesday.

    • @Kel 
      Sound research. A suggestion: CSN should consider compiling an annual book of fans’ opinions. It will sell like akara balls. Then such finely written articles like this won’t be lost. (I’ll be happy with just 1% of the income generated, for the idea).

  • Desono 5 years ago

    Nigeria Vs South Africa

    , (1) South Africa strength is their cohesive structure currently under their coach (Baxter) ,a confident and boastful Individual but discipline at the same time and has managed to instill it into his team making sure they work their socks off 100 Percent during matches, e.g against Egypt,
    they are most likely to repeat it against Nigeria tomorrow.
    How they will play and position their player during the game in their half. Baxter is a very defensive minded, he will play a defensive game for about 65 minute, and he will likely line up six player around their defense line when Nigeria is attacking with the ball while two of their player will try to disposes the ball from our striker each time they are with the ball while they are looking for counter attack at same time. So Nigeria needs concentration for the last 25 minutes of the game and should they score one goal against Nigeria first ,they will simply sits back and never come to play. Nigeria should neutralize this tactics with our skillful player with quick passing of the of ball and try to score them first and forces the South African to comes from their defensive formation and open the game up and making it easy for Nigeria to kill the game off.

  • Proudly Bafana 5 years ago

    I like it when we are underdogs….. History favousr the underdogs. 

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