Congratulations, Ghana! You deserve the World Cup

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By Damiete Sanipe

It is two days after the loss but it hurts more this morning…why? Perhaps it was just anger and frustration that night but now, reality sets in and boom! I can clearly now the rain is gone, I can see all obstacles in my way….but this time, with due respect to Jimmy Cliff, it’s not gonna be a bright sun shinny day for Nigerian football.

Over two legs, it was expected the Super Eagles would triumph over the Black Stars of Ghana but football is played on the pitch and lot of factors responsible for the outcome which incidentally went in favour of the Ghanaians. Ghana must go…to the World Cup they went.

Do I even qualify to talk tactics? Nah! But seriously there are some obvious things you do not need someone to explain to you. Coach of the Eagles Augustine Eguaveon who doubles as the Technical Director took over in interim capacity when the romance between the Nigeria Football Federation and Genot Rohr ended and his first assignment was to lead the team to the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon. Nigeria had the worst outing in almost 40 years crashing out in the second round.

The next assignment was a two legged qualifier encounter against longtime foes and rivals Ghana in what was term the “jollof derby”. Over two legs, the Ghanaians were better tactically and technically. The fixtures came when Ghana football was in turmoil having had a worse performance in Cameroon crashing out in the group stage.

With the array of stars at his disposal, what went wrong with Eguaveon?

Sources say he did not have full control over the selection as there were lots of players that have no business to the team were included in the list and standby list. If you do not have a free hand in your team selection, you are obviously not in charge.

What does Eguaveon have to lose? He is still occupying his position as the TD and has the assurance that when a new coach is employed, he goes back to his post. That to me is too much job security in a sector where the business is hiring and firing according to the result of your last game. How the Eagles did not qualify for Qatar 2022 and Eguaveon still has a job is beyond my understanding. Who should take the responsibility of the failure if the coach does not come out to apologize and quit?

From my little knowledge of what I saw in both legs, the Stars were very comfortable, compact, team cohesion and every department did their jobs very well. They bossed the first leg but were very cautious not to concede at home knowing the qualifier had the away goal rule in effect. Knowing the Eagles will come out gun blazing in search of goal(s), they came prepared to contain and hit on the counter (something they still did not use to its full effect to show how poor the team is). A very poor Black Stars team suddenly became very good because of the performance of the opposition in both legs.

“How does a coach make five changes to his starting 11 in four days?”

This was asked by a Ghanaian journalist when he got the team sheets before the game. I was also shocked at the timing of the changes but what do I know? My sentiment just wanted the Eagles to win so whoever the gaffer throws in was supported by me as long as the job is done.

At exactly 68 minutes of play, Calvin Bassey signaled the bench to be substituted and did not contribute anything meaningful the next 12 minutes before he was finally subbed few minutes to the end. Leon Balogun was exhausted at 78 minutes and managed catch up until the end.  Ogenekaro Etebo obviously lacking match fitness was very slow and gave the ball away in dangerous areas more than thrice in the first half alone.

Victor Osimhem was isolated upfront, most of the players were not attentive to what was going on from the misplaced passes all over. A goalkeeper that was not comfortable with receiving the ball on his feet yet was being given back passes on the regular and I ask, what was the coach doing during their training sessions not to have noticed all these? During the game, did he not notice these and if he did, what did he do to change tactics or personnel?

Your guess is as good as mine. We did not have what was needed beat a very poor Ghanaian team and if over two legs the Super Eagles could not beat the Black Stars, then we have no business in Qatar! Congratulations Ghana.


0 thoughts on “Congratulations, Ghana! You deserve the World Cup

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