Nigeria’s Super Eagles went into the game against South Africa brimming with confidence and self-assuredness, one that Nigerian soccer fans cued into and took to heart whole heartedly
And why not?
For one we had never lost a competitive fixture to the South Africans
For another we had prepared adequately camping for weeks in France and Nigeria playing two warm up games to tune up
And then we had a spanking new exciting youthful team of “supposedly” superstar players from all-over the world especially the English Premier League, top scorers in Belgium and Austria
So it came as a serious shock when right in our own backyard in Uyo the South Africans gave us a reminder of our mortality and naivety in the game
Already and as usual the fingers are pointing in so many directions
A lack of active playing time for the supposed superstars, a wrong team selection and lack of tactical input when necessary from the once inculpable Gernot Rohr, overconfidence on the part of the players and so much more
It could be any, it could be all.
The bottom line remains we lost, but embarrassing as it may be (losing to South Africa and in our own backyard) it is still relatively an inconsequential loss.
The qualifiers just kicked off and there are so many more games for us to play and ensure qualification.
More so it has knocked us off our high pedestal and made us realize we are quite beatable going into the more important game against Cameroon.
Now is the time to pick up the pieces, analyze the weak spots drop the droppable, flog the underperformers, search under the rocks for top talent and closely scrutinize Gernot Rohrs acumen.
Now is the time to stop playing Iheanacho as a top 9, decide on either Iwobi and Etebo as a 10, secure top quality full backs and most importantly get a proper backup goalkeeper!
Like we say it in Nigeria the water has only spilled but the calabash is not broken!