Maybe we all did go into overdrive after the loss to South Africa. Truth is, the loss was particularly harrowing because of its nature and the opponents. There was no catharsis of the mind-lacerating defeat from two and a half years ago.
Worse still, there was almost no positive to glean either from an individual perspective or the collective. It was a bad defeat, the South Africans played their roles to perfection, it wasn’t filigree as such; just a team that came with a plan and effectively carried it out.
The more talented Super Eagles were to take the initiative, have loads of possession, get stymied and then get hit on the break. At least that’s what an ersatz version of Stuart Baxter’s tactic sheet would have.
The Bafana Bafana won, the Super Eagles lost and we are dealing with it the proper Nigerian style. Growing doubts, clamour for messiah(s) and the famous technical committee wading in.
The Chinese Calvary many had pinned their hopes on are not exactly fool-proof, for they were, whilst the team faltered in time past.
Mikel adds some quality in the middle of the park but not much suggests his days of plodding through games are well past. The number of matches where he has been truly excellent for the Super Eagles stands unimpressive.
Ideye, asides being a conduit, barely adds other qualities when he dons the green and white, while Ighalo hasn’t replicated his goals-scoring heroics from the Premier League with the Super Eagles. It is folly to keep calling for messianic figures who truly cannot save whenever we hit a road bump instead of addressing the real problems. Iheanacho’s isolation for instance is not going to be solved by Ighalo’s importation into the squad. The former Watford striker was faced with similar problems during his time with the Super Eagles, where in certain games he’d often find himself overcrowded by the opposition defence with no help or support around him.
The rather brisk to step-in NFF Technical Committee should perhaps draw up solutions from their well of preternatural knowledge.
Of course, it’d be mischievous to suggest they wouldn’t have much to offer the German tactician. In fact, it could further provide Gernot Rohr with more resources, including a wider scouting network to make success easier to achieve. That is, if the committee, who have a chequered history, actually work in synergy with the coaching department without the age-long issue of interference coming to fore.
Rohr certainly is secure enough in his position as the manager and therefore wouldn’t feel threatened by the committee’s presence or help.
Figuring how to build attacks, combination play and proper ball transitioning should take priority status on the committee’s to-do list, while down the list should include the entry ‘improving the public’s perception of us’.
It is not an overly difficult task dispelling the doubts concerning Rohr’s mettle, as a solid performance against Cameroon (CHAN qualifiers won’t count for much) in the World Cup qualifier at home should do the trick. Rohr has had extended time observing the Indomitable Lions from their Nations Cup triumph to their current involvement in the Confederations Cup. Hugo Broos has stuck with largely the same crop of players and there are huge doubts he’d trump for wholesale changes before the fixture in August, except an event involving aliens or something of greater magnitude takes place. He is that loyal.
With the talent pool, the Super Eagles Coach has at his disposal, help from the hallowed technical committee, and tack to counter the opposition’s strengths and exploit their weaknesses becuase winning back the heart of the fans is achievable. And of course, proper balls are needed too.