I wrote in the past of football pundits and analysts who seemingly want to take over the role of Nostradamus by predicting matches. The truth of the matter is that it is impossible to predict football matches. Those who try to do it most often times than not get their noses bloodied.
The general consensus was that the Super Eagles would be beaten ‘thoroughly’ by the super stars of Cote d’Ivoire. If one had to believe all that was written and said in the past four days, it wouldn’t be out of sorts to concluded that Nigeria would be disgraced against the Ivoirians. It was as if football is no longer played on the pitch but on pundits and analysts tables.
To add to the pressure of the Super Eagles is the lack of support from Nigerians. Some were even praying that the team is knocked out of the competition as quickly as possible. This fact got Stephen Keshi saying that he wouldn’t be too bothered if the Elephants win since people back home do not have any believe in the team. It was that bad.
However, the Super Eagles got to work on the pitch and did what they had to do. It is now officially history that Nigeria knocked out the tournament’s favourite in the quarterfinals and the boys did it with some style too.
I have always said that football is played on the field and the team that turns up more hungry wins on the day. The Super Eagles did what they had to do to win and success became their friend.
For the second time in the tournament, they played a very tactical game. It was simple yet effective. They simply stopped the Ivoirians from playing by cutting off Yaya Toure for a large part of the match. They also displayed the spirit that ensures success: Determination. Never giving up and going for it.
Despite the debutants in the team, Keshi has succeeded in knitting together a potentially solid team for the future. Without sounding arrogant, I have always believed in the team assembled by the Coach and I know the best is yet to be seen from these guys.
The Super Eagles have proven they are a team to be reckoned with and all I can do is to wish them the best. I appeal to Nigerians to back their team; it is the least we can do.