Eight lessons we should have learned from Nigeria v Cameroon double header

Being one of millions of Nigerians who did not think the Super Eagles could beat Cameroon, I made the trip to Uyo not expecting a Nigerian win but to enjoy a good game of football.

I did not go to Cameroon but followed every bit of it on television and the morning after, these are eight lessons I think we should have learned from the double header.

Cameroon is not indomitable

When the draws for the World Cup was made, I remember telling colleagues that “Nigeria will carry last” in the group.

No one should blame me because the Eagles were in disarray at the time, going from Stephen Keshi to Sunday Oliseh to Samson Siasia to Paul Le Gwen (for a few hours) and then Gernot Rohr, all in one year.

Then the Cameroonians had been our eternal nemesis, or so we thought and Algeria was number one ranked team in Africa.

However, the games, especially against Cameroon proved the easiest of the lot.

Nigeria did not just win against Cameroon but completely outclassed them. Then again head to head records showed that Nigeria have been the better side over the years. Cameroon just won the key games like AFCON finals (three of them)

Something good can come out of the Nigerian League
Ikechukwu Ezenwa

Most Nigerians were apprehensive after Vincent Enyeama quit and Carl Ikeme took ill. As far as they were concerned the country was doomed. We had no goalkeeper and Vincent must return, even though he was currently out injured.

When Daniel Akpeyi, who was foreign based “messed up” against South Africa, it seemed the end for the Eagles.

Over two games, I give Ikechukwu Ezenwa a rating of 7 out of 10. he made some errors in Uyo and one in Yaounde that cost us the lead, but with his overall performance Rohr should change his stance on the Nigerian League players.

The fact that his error cost the penalty changes not my opinion of his over performance over two games and Rohr now has decisions to make.

Maybe Victor Moses actually gives his best for Nigeria

More often than not, the Chelsea man goes out with injury on the match day before the international break and Nigerians, especially the sporting media began to push a narrative that Moses does not want to play for Nigeria.

The performance he put up in the two games clearly showed that in a Super Eagles jersey he can rank as one of the best in the world.

In both Uyo and Cameroon, he was all over the place marshaling the destruction of Cameroon, scoring and assisting for good measure.

He did not slow down a step in Yaounde as he proved unstoppable too.

Maybe Chelsea should try Victor Moses upfront in a game or two.

Any team can lose games

After the loss to South Africa in Uyo, Nigerians went ballistic on the players and Gernot Rohr.

Rohr made a mistake in invitation and selection for the game against Bafana Bafana and paid for it dearly.

The Eagles that played against Cameroon were unrecognizable in terns of play compared to the game against South Africa.

Now every one is praising the Eagles again and some even say we can win the World Cup in Russia (hmm).

The Eagles could lose at home to Zambia, or away to Algeria, or away to South Africa in the AFCON.

Nigerians should understand that in the game of football, any team can lose games.

Kids on their own cannot win for you

After a one hundred percent start to his Super Eagles career, Gernot Rohr decided to try a new experiment.

Odion Ighalo and Brown Ideye were dropped for Kayode Olarenwaju and Victor Osimhen.

Chiedozie Awaziem was thrown straight into the team and even in the absence of John Mikel Obi, John Ogu did not get to play while Kelechi Iheanacho led the lines with Alex Iwobi and Moses Simon supporting.

The result is legendary and will go down in South African folklore.

Not that I subscribe to the saying that you cannot win anything with kids, mine is, you cannot win anything with kids who do not have proper guidance.

If Nigeria had won against South Africa we would have had the false sense of security not realising that Mikel Obi, Odion Ighalo, Victor Moses and maybe, if he sorts out his club issues, Brown Ideye still have a role to play.

Kids are for the future, but every national team or club needs players to deliver now, while the kids learn with them and grow into being the mainstay of the team.

The NFF need a crash course in organising football matches

As the performance of the Super Eagles get better, that of the NFF gets worse in terms of organising.

Now, I can not really say if I need to put this blame on the NFF alone or the Akwa Ibom State government who took charge of accommodation, logistics and security, but some one has to learn.

Gun totting policeman, beating up journalists and fans and as much as opening canisters of tear gas when there was no crisis at an international match simply just showed that something was wrong and remains wrong.

I saw some personal efforts Amaju Pinnick made to ensure things were done the right way, but a lot must change in international games.

I suggest training workshops for the Nigerian police and DSS (Which is the new one in these games) before any international match.

John Mikel Obi is a team leader

John Mikel Obi has been out of the Super Eagles since Algeria in November 2016 and he returned to tell the world that he was only about seventy percent match fit for the game.

However, he led well and had complete command of the midfield with Ogenyi Onazi and Ndidi Wilfred behind him.

Though not such a commanding performance in Yaounde, the much vilified John Mikel Obi has grown into a midfield general for the Eagles and has shown that he is indispensable in the team.

We still have a left back problem

Elderson Echiejile
In the 80s the Eagles had Bright Omokaro who handed over to Ben Iroha and then Celestine Babayaro who left the position for Ifeanyi Udeze.

But since after Udeze, the Eagles have had a left back problem.

Taiye Taiwo flattered to deceive but apart from free kicks he hardly ever convinced.

For a while, the left back “has been leaking” as we say in local parlance and Elderson Echiejile, knowing that all eyes were on him tried to be careful in Uyo. He hardly ever went forward. He had a decent game.

In Yaounde, the Bassagog v Echiejile battle we feared for eventually happened and the Cameroonian won every duel.

Gernot Rohr is here to build a team, not appear 2 weeks to match day and select players for games.

At this point, he should look inwards. There are left full backs in the Nigerian League that would be more enterprising running down the flanks and defending too.

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  1. Good write up. I was expecting to read up some of the home based players you would suggest for the left full back position.

  2. Good write up. I was expecting to read up some of the home based players you would suggest for the left full back position.