Russia 2018: New jersey, old worries
However, the plot is gradually shaping up into that narrative. After the Super Eagles team announced their beautiful world cup jersey to the world, their form has surprisingly dwindled. The swagger has been lost and the coach continues to look clueless as regards picking his winning team.
By Ikenna Amadi
When the new world cup jersey for Nigeria’s Super Eagles team was unveiled, the whole world opened their mouths in awe. There was a whole lot ‘bridal eulogies’ idolizing the artistic concept that accompanied the new outfit.
The celebration that accompanied the jersey would forgive an observer to be thrown into wild excitement that comes from winning a world cup trophy. No doubt, the world cup jersey of the super Eagles, is arguably one of the best on display at the global showpiece in Russia.
While pundits have claimed that the world cup jersey evokes memories of the 1994 gladiators, who remains till date the best team ever assembled by the Eagles, one must be careful not to make such ridiculous comparisons, as this current world cup team, is nothing close to the class of 94, that excited and intoxicated us with sheer talent and bliss of the round leather game.
No doubt, the super eagles have done well to a considerable extent, as they journeyed through the world cup qualifier games, by becoming the first African nation to book a ticket at the global showpiece. This super Eagles team have given Nigerians bragging rights in the continent, and raising up hopes, that the team is set to have a good outing in Russia. Much to this renewed optimism is the enigmatic man- management and tactical astuteness of our coach, the German, Gernot Rhor.
The belief of a blissful world cup took centre-stage when the Super Eagles team dismantled a Messi-less Argentina side in an international friendly by 4-2, which sparked ridiculous remarks from Nigerians like ‘we are going to win the world cup’
This is not the first time that Nigeria will emerge victorious against the Argentinian team, especially without Messi. In June 2011, the Super eagles thrashed Argentina, by 4-1. The game sparked a lot of belief from the Super eagles, thus provoking the Argentina side who later overturned the game in another scheduled friendly, with a star-studded team including Lionel Messi, and also inflicted more misery on the team when they met in a world cup group stage in 2014.
However, the plot is gradually shaping up into that narrative. After the Super Eagles team announced their beautiful world cup jersey to the world, their form has surprisingly dwindled. The swagger has been lost and the coach continues to look clueless as regards picking his winning team. Definitely, there are inherent technical problems in the team, stemming from the over reliance on a centre forward in Odion Ighalo, who has forgotten his Super Eagles scoring boot, to a midfield that lacks creativity and completely depends on the inspiration of its captain in pulling the strings.
The last five international friendlies after the Argentina win, has seen the Super Eagles record one win, three losses and one draw. It is understandable to lose against the English side, but with due respect, shambolic loses against Serbia and Czech-republic, teams that the Eagles should hold their own against, leaves a lot to be desired.
Heaven keeps on holding the sky from pouring down, as the goalkeeping issue is still not resolved, with Rhor still flirting between Uzoho, and Ezenwa for the number one spot, with few days remaining for our eagerly anticipated opener against Croatia.
While the celebration continues among art freaks on our beautiful jersey, one keeps on praying that the characteristic off field feud that normally accompany the team to major soccer events does not rear its ugly head again, else, Russia might turn into a tourist centre for the team and Nigerians.
We believe in this team, and as our blood in entrenched in the green fabric of the team, all hearts are praying, that everything works well for this young Eagles team that has so many debutants. We will keep singing, as every Nigerian has their hearts in Russia, physically or spiritually, praying for the Super Eagles. Hopefully, our beautiful jersey is seen for a long time in the competition. Yes we can!