Is there any player of the Super Eagles left in Russia? No? Good. Now let’s talk.
It’s been a week since Marcos Rojo put a dagger through the hearts of Nigerians.
Before then, the Super Eagles had in their own way betrayed the emotions of the same seople (against Croatia) and yet, raised their hopes (against Iceland).
Pay more attention here, the irony of it all was the victory against Iceland. That simply put the sloppy Argentina back in the contest. Need it be emphasized again that the first game shouldn’t have been lost too.
Anyways it’s all over, but the agonizing pain of another four years wait hurts more than the unceremonious exit of this year, even as the team left in ones and twos to their various locations.
What does that tell you? They simply had no excuse even if their struggles and fight were visible. They fought to the last, but could they have avoided walking tight ropes? Absolutely Yes.
To think of how the mighty are falling in Russia, before and after the exit of Nigeria makes it worse. It was going to be a World Cup to dream and aspire, but Gernot Rohr didn’t see it and every other person was blindfolded as well.
“My players are are young and inexperienced. We’ll learn from our mistakes” were the usual lines before, during and after the exit of the Eagles.
To be fair enough on them however, the World Cup might have come too soon. The said “youthful” team under the guidance of the German took their qualifiers group by surprise and made the Russia berth with a game to spare.
It might seem illogical and irrational, but imagine if this team had played a tournament together before descending on Russia. That could have added at least the experience of a tournament and also avail team selection, while a suitable pattern could have well been adopted.
That was a matter of opportunity though and it isn’t anyone’s fault that things didn’t pan out that way. But for the way it did, NFF, Rohr, the technical committee (who are now pointing accusation fingers) and the players had everything to control the situation.
At a point before the World Cup too, everyone including some sections of the media and supporters had already excused the looming failure which was staring at the team.
What did they say? “Build up to the 1998, World Cup, we didn’t do well in most of our friendlies and we made it out of the group stages.” But did we eventually win the World Cup in 1998?
Everyone also seemed comfortable with the Eagles as a second half team. Football is a game of two halves though, but at times forty-five minutes won’t be enough to see off a game.
Barring all the drama that is erupting from the Glass House, there’s only one way forward for the Super Eagles. That is to stick together so as to take full advantage of the current youthfulness in the team. Remember the 2019 AFCON qualifiers will resume in September.
If they had truly learned the hard way in Russia, a fourth continental glory wouldn’t be too much to ask for as a quantum of solace.