By: SIMON JOSHUA
It is always expected of us to vent our anger, criticize and exude frantic outbursts each time our darling team, The Super Eagles lose a game. We don’t like losing no doubt but, we should also learn how to dissect things in a constructive manner and not allow emotion derail the real facts.
I am a patriotic Nigerian and a die-hard fan of the Super Eagles but when stuffs of this magnitude plays out, I usually take my time to look critically at what actually transpired.
To be candid, the Desert Foxes of Algeria were the better side in the game and were more organised in all areas. They were willing to play and dominate, bringing the game to the Super Eagles. We tried marching them in the second half but we were undone by that masterclass from their talisman Riyad Mahrez.
That brings me to the situation of our goalkeeping area in the team. Since Vincent Enyeama retired, we’ve had a torrid time finding a perfect replacement. All the three we have currently are not confident at all and are not even willing to step up.
Truth be said, Akpeyi was terrible and was a total shamble. Fielding Akpeyi as the number one was the worst decision Gernot Rohr made in this tournament, although it is somehow justifiable by the fact that Ezenwa got injured ahead of the competition coupled with the rusty nature of Francis Uzoho due to inactivity in Cyprus.
Akpeyi’s handling of the ball is very poor, his distribution is terrible and his lack of confidence rubs off negatively on the defense. He is always jittery at every point in time which makes it imperative that we need to sort out our goalkeeping position.
Our defenders were also fantastic on individual basis but collectively the cohesion wasn’t there. This heralded miss-placed passes, lack of communication, bad positioning and leakage of goals. You don’t expect to win a trophy in a competition when you score eight goals and leak in seven. Record has it that this is the most any semifinalist had conceded in the tournament.
Gernot Rohr on his own part got it wrong at some point in relation to his player selections and substitutions, but we must cut him some slack for having assembled group of fantastic youngsters that can carry the future and hope of this team.
Despite all the negativities and the hurt of losing a semifinal, we can always take solace in the fact that we now have a bunch of young talented players that can shoulder the football burden of the nation in future. We also have every reason to be optimistic that the wealth of experience ganerned in this tournament can contribute to better outings next time.