The match against Zambia has come and gone. The debates surrounding the outcome would however continue for a while due to the controversial penalty awarded against Nigeria towards the end of the match. It should be repeated here that Nigeria had faced two poor referees in the matches played so far at the ACN.
One could only hope that the third and final group match against Ethiopia would reflect the best officiating available on the continent. In this regard, I must commend the NFF for formally complaining about the officiating in the match against Zambia. I expect more of this type of action in the future. There is no point in condoning glaring injustice or suffering in silence.
As the Super Eagles gets ready to play the Ethiopians tomorrow, on thing that’s glaring is the lack of fluidity in their play. We have a collection of decent footballers within that squad but they can hardly string three passes together. This is unacceptable at this level. The most guilty is Ahmed Musa. While he’s always a tough customer for our opponents, he lacks the final ball.
Against the Ethiopians, the Super Eagles have their work cut out. They are facing a thoroughly beaten and wounded opponent that is backed by the wealth of one of the richest people in Africa. They are down but not out and therefore are not to be taken lightly if we must progress from this group.
Some analysts have concluded that Nigeria and Burkina Faso would qualify from the group but we must not let this affect our determination. The way it is; only the prepared, determined and focused would move on to the next stage.
Without sounding judgmental, I have seen Fegor Ogude and I believe he should not start against the Ethiopians. Having served his one-match suspension, Efe Ambrose should come back into the lineup with Ike Uche on the left wing. It should be a thing to consider seeing we need to score at least two goals to be in the clear.
At the end of the day, the ball is in Stephen Keshi’s court and I hope he plays it well tomorrow. The boys must not be cowed by the occasion but play like the giants that they are indeed and I know we would all smile at the end of the day.