40 Twitter Reactions to Nigeria’s Win Over Cameroon

The thought of playing the current African champions twice in under a week was terrifying enough. Maybe not for some others. But for me, I kept remembering the team that conquered all that stood before it on their way to dominating African football early this year.

Their poor outing in the FIFA Confederations Cup doused the fear a bit as Friday, 1st of September drew near.

They didn’t win any games out there in Russia,” I said to myself.

“Maybe the Indomitable Lions are not as good as they used to be.”

But the thought of Bassogog’s speed, Moukandjo’s enterprise and of course Vincent Aboubakar power did not let me raise my hopes to high. After the poor outing against South Africa, I was literally hoping for the best but expecting the worst.

The sight of a full stadium was not strange to me. It’s typical for Nigerians to troop out in their thousands when their darling Super Eagles are in action. Those people love their football like that.

The first twenty minutes or thereabout of the game was all Cameroon. As if to confirm my fears and worries, the Lions kept bombarding Shehu and flinging those crosses into the box. I tried to calm myself but that was even harder to do with the way John Obi Mikel and co. incessantly gave away the ball possession with Odion Ighalo a lonely figure up-front.

Luckily for the Nigerian in me, that was the only period I really needed to worry. The Super Eagles gradually grew into the game and took charge of the fixture. In the end, the game 4-0 in favor of the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

Some of the goals were made in China

…others were made in England while some made by Moses. 

But it doesn’t matter now. What matters is the statement of intent that the Nigeria’s national football team made to not just their Cameroonian neighbors, but to Africa as whole. After playing Zambia, Algeria and Cameroon, the Super Eagles remain unbeaten.

And they’ve not even dragged themselves or grinded out results in all these games. It has been almost like a stroll in the park for Nigeria’s Eagles. And that’s more reason why Africa should be afraid. There’s an eagle in the West and it’s soaring again.

I never really understood – not that interested anyway in – how the FIFA Rankings work. But with this win, I hope our rankings will change. And I’m not even the only one hoping for that change.

At this point, I’ll pretend the commentary box of a specific channel put icing on the cake

If after seeing those tweets, you’re still asking me about the commentary, you are O.Y.O.

Moving forward, there was the mild argument about which player should be awarded the MotM award.

Who was your Man of the Match on the day:

  • John Mikel Obi
  • Victor Moses
  • Leon Baogun
  • Someone Else

Please share your thoughts with me by leaving a comment.

While the argument continues, there was also a lot of praise for the Chinese League after John Obi Mikel and Odion Ighalo, two players who ply their trade in China, scored for the Super Eagles.

Of course, there was a prophet who called it even before the game day,

But the celebrations are already over and they’re already making plans for the future ahead.

A name that will important for the next game in Cameroon is this guy,

To finish things off, an ode to the back line that made Ezenwa look good on the day

So what’s next?

A trip to the lions’ den located in Cameroon.

 

About Author

Rotimi “Papi” Daramola is a freelance sports writer, a football content developer and a freelance football analyst who has appeared on radio to talk football. You can reach him on twitter @rotdav

 

CAF World Cup Qualifiers: The Major Problems of Nigeria’s Super Eagles

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This is more of an open letter containing jabs, discussions about Nigeria’s failing state of football and some bit of advice.

I have been around long enough on the continent Africa (not as long as your mind is thinking) to be forever concerned about the state of Nigerian football and the Nigerian Football Federation (abi shey na association them be).

Things have gotten so complex these days that there’s now usually a long list when talking about the problems of Nigerian football.

And when solutions are proposed (of course everyone usually has an idea), there’s an even longer list than before.

A long list of problems. An even longer list of solutions.

You can understand my plight when I ask, “Where do I even begin?”

First off, Nigeria’s Super Eagles, AGAIN, failed to qualify for yet another African Cup of Nations. It is now the first time we’ve failed to qualify for the tournament back-to-back and the third we’ll be missing out on out of the last five organized.

We refused to go to the 2012 edition. The Super Eagles (Super Chickens maybe?) as defending champs, decided against qualifying for the 2015 edition in Equatorial Guinea. And now, they won’t be taking part in the 2017 edition in Gabon.

Why?

Let’s blame it on the Pharaohs of Egypt who killed us off with the one-all draw in Kaduna and then a lone goal victory in Alexandria.

But really, how did we get to this sorry state in our football history when just three years ago we were African champions?

To back-date a bit, Atlanta ’96 may be a bit foggy but I read about it and watched a few clips. I must say, a few of the matches were glorious and beautiful to watch then. The memories. The tears that came to your eyes then were those of “oh, what a beauty” and not “Jesus Christ! what in the heavens did I just watch.”

From findings, Westerhoff was gone then and on came Bonfire JO (lol its Bonfrere Jo actually, but I like to think he was the one who set the fire to our team). After then Naija began to hire and fire coaches at will sometimes even re-hiring fired coaches sef (Bonfrere Jo, siasia, amodu etc).

Maybe one of the reason Nigeria’s football has been so unstable is the chronic instability as regards coaches.

Once outsted from a competition, the mandate is that the coach must follow. He’s shown the exit door. No time to build rappport with the players.

Another steps in, with a new management and a new style. The players have to adjust in such a short time.

Rinse and repeat.

Of course that’s one way the NFF has failed me as Nigerian football fan.

Another is poor funding which, has been responsible for why our home-based football clubs are finding it difficult to match others in North Africa and elsewhere and hence can’t produce players who can compete in the national colours.

Can’t blame people for watching the EPL and other leagues more than the NPFL when the moment you start to watch a Nigerian Professional Football League match, the environment alone kills your morale. The equipments cause backaches (talking of the stadium chairs) and the pitch just has the “save me” cry.

Only 3 of the 20 clubs in the topflight, IfeanyiUbah FC, MFM FC and Ikorodu United are privately owned. The rest are funded by state governments.

Before the down turn in the country’s economy, most states never really considered these clubs as big businesses that should be managed as big businesses. Instead, they were given to politically-correct persons to run.

End result?

A back-log of owed salaries with players playing half-heartedly.

The ripple effect follows the players when called up and are in the midst of guys that have just flown in from all parts of Europe. The international ones. By this time, they’re not even motivated enough to give them a run for their money.

The lazy ones get the starting berths and the even lazier ones get the bench role. The home-based ones can only watch from home. Nigeria struggles to beat the likes of Sudan and the cycle continues.

But if the international ones have become too big (more on this later) and the local ones are feeling too inferior to step up to the plate, the younger ones should give it a shot right?

I wish they could. The failure of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to encourage football academies, check the activities of football agents and monitor the progress of super kids (see Germany) has helped the free-fall of the Super Eagles.

The total under-development of our football academies/ U-17’s, U-20’s. I recall the likes of Mikel Obi, Osaze Odemwingie, Kelechi Iheanacho and, of late, Kelechi Nwakali coming through the junior national teams.

Nigeria is feared in every world U-17 or U-20 football tournament as we never cease to produce great kids. Yet, it’s still so difficult to produce great footballers for our generation.

But the kids, no matter how good they are, can’t get to play until that lousy politician’s cousin, without skills or talent whatsoever, is done playing.

Grooming the young and giving them a shot is the model most teams in the EPL and in Europe at large use. They all have decent-enough football academies that are responsible for grooming footballers of the future. And it works for them.

If only the same could be said about our nation.

The NFF need to focus more on trying to get the most out of the many talents we’ve got in Nigeria instead of wasting time analysing how lesbianism has caused the downfall of the Super Falcons (the joy of Nigerian football).

What has a person’s sexuality got to do with how a person plays her football? Of course we’ve all got different stances on the issue but… if a gay player plays better than a straight person, biko why not let her play?

Talent over sexuality!

Afterall its about Nigeria and it’s to the benefit of all. Abi when they win the trophy, no be all of us go celebrate?

Wages are not paid early. Due tournament bonuses are withheld. Training facilities remain the same without improvements. Yet you can blame their sexuality?

How comprehensive!

Back to the international ones. On one hand, in the on-going EURO 2016 tournament, you see players extremely pleased and dedicated about playing for their nation.

Men and boys playing their heart and soul out in a bid to bring glory to their nation. Countries trying to “out-sing” the other whenever their anthems are played (welldone Buffon).

On the other, you have Nigerian players who have a different idea to National Loyalty. For the nation, IT HAS NEVER BEEN ABOUT THE MONEY. I don’t think there is any nation that pays its players better than what the clubs pay so, grow up! Play with heart! If you can’t, don’t heed the call.

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Of course I’m scared of the next WC Qualifiers. Truth be told , I am on the side of those who believe Nigeria won’t make it.

Call me pessimistic but I look forward to what Mahrez and co. would do to us. I doubt we can even pick up a point against Cameroon. Perhaps we would get to finish above Zambia, but then, the Super Eagles are known to disappoint so maybe we shouldn’t expect too much.

Bottom line: Let’s play this WC qualifier in preparation for Qatar 2022 because we aren’t going to Russia.

Let’s look for a good coach, and improve our tactics and dedication to the nation’s football spirit.

Although I refuse to give up on supporting Nigerian football, I am tired of the whole permutation process we as fans have to go through during qualifications like this. Letting our fate be decided by the results of other teams and all.

The coach change and leadership of the football federation is the BIGGEST CONCERN of all.

Nigerians are known to be spiritual, so I am calling on my God in heaven to save us and help us.

GOD BLESS NIGERIA.

About Author
Bamgboye Ayodele is a writer of all genres, passionate sport analyst and a freelance game blogger. You can keep up with writing and also engage with him on Twitter @LORD_Obote.

6 Talking Points From #FootballThisPastWeek

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There has been a lot of footballing action over the past week. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that there’s been enough to have been able to watch at least two everyday!

Phew! That’s a lot… for some.

But not for the football fans.

From the amazing goal scored by Shaqiri to the not-so-eventful Croatia – Portugal game and the Copa America final, football has given all a whole lot to talk about this past week.

And out of all the events that happened, I’ve selected a few to talk about (or write about?).

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-Rangers International Can Win the Nigerian Professional Football League
At least the Enugu side are playing like they want to. On Friday, Rangers entertained Warri Wolves, beat them 2-1 and OUTPLAYED them by all means!

Rangers were the FASTER, BETTER and STRONGER side of the evening as they showed off title-winning potentials: A great defense line, midfielders that can continuously string out defense-splitting passes to either find out wingers with amazing speed or pick out strikers who finish with aplomb.

May sound exaggerating but it’s not. Really.

Their flankers had some sort of terrifying speed that the Warri Wolves could not defend against. And everytime Rangers attacked, they seemed like they would score.

Maybe Enyimba should be looking over their shoulders (and ahead of them too as Rangers are now second on the NPFL table with the Aba Elephants currently sixth) as it seems another club is playing like they want the NPFL trophy so badly.

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Portgual’s Lucky Euro 2016 Run (or not?)
I’m not even sure if those are the right words to describe Portugal’s run so far in the Euro 2016. Might need a, erm, more luckier word than the word “lucky.”

From not winning any of their group games to qualifying out of their group as a “Best Loser”, you’d have thought Portugal had been lucky enough.

They were drawn against Croatia in the second round and the people’s verdict was simple and straight-forward: Portugal are out of Euro 2016. Some, not all the people.

But Mama Luck wasn’t done with C. Ronaldo and co just yet. Portugal which did not have any shot-on-target in the entire 90 minutes, managed to scored the winning goal with their second shot-on-target in the 117th minute.

Croatia, the favourites, were sent home. Portugal, the underdogs, move a step closer to glory.

Now let me ask: If that wasn’t luck, I’m wondering, what could it be?

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Nigeria and the CAF World Cup Qualifiers’ Group of Death
Algeria, Cameroon, Nigeria, Zambia. All of these countries in one group in a football competition.

If it was a normal football tournament where two countries could qualify, as a Nigerian, I wouldn’t have been too worried. The Euro 2016 scenario, where a “Best Loser” could still qualify, would have been even more calming.

But you can imagine how skeptical I was, as a Nigerian, when I remembered it was a World Cup Qualifier and ONLY one team could get the ticket to, this time, Russia 2018.

I started to think: How could a team without a coach beat the likes of Algeria after the Nigeria – Egypt AFCON qualifiers experience? Cameroon? Can the Super Eagles even beat Zambia?

The topic was raised on the blog’s forum (reach me here if you want to join in the discussion). All (myself included), except one (out of 40), concluded that Nigeria could not make it out of that group and qualify for Russia.

The debate shifted to the possible positions Nigeria could finish in. The conclusion? Majority seemed to think Nigeria would finish either second or third.

What do you think? Share your thoughts with me in the comments section below.

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Copa America Final
Even though the competition in the U.S.A was overwhelmed by the Euros, the Copa America caught it’s own fair share of the media’s eye.

While the competition was on, it was hard to ignore scorelines like Chile’s white-washing of Mexico 0-7 and Argentina’s 4-0 thrashing of the USMNT.

But the final was the mega one. The clash of the titans. Chile vs Argentina. Names were pitched against names, head-to-head and all. In the end, Chile beat Argentina 4-2 on penalties after a goalless 90 minutes.

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And there were two major talking points. No, make that three:
– Messi missed a penalty.
– The win meant Chile had now beaten Argentina to the Copa back-to-back.
– Alexis Sanchez was voted the tourney’s MVP.
– Messi cried.
– Messi retired.
– Messi, with Argentina, had successfully missed out on 3 trophies, in the last 3 summers, back-to-back-to-back.

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Just in case you’re wondering, I just multiplied Argentina’s back-to-back-to-back trophy losses with Chile’s back-to-back trophy wins. There you go. 6 talking points!

But Why Did Vardy Turn Arsenal Down?
It’s been one of those weird seasons where every Arsenal fan seem to know which player Arsene Wenger will buy. Usually, they’re always in the dark, not knowing which rabbit the Frenchman would pull out of his hat.

I don’t think much expected the Arsenal-Vardy links. But the news kept getting stronger and speculations were rife.

Some football fans were not sure what to think of the move. Leicester had just qualified for the UEFA Champions League. So why leave the Foxes for the Gunners?

Over the week, Vardy signed a new four-year contract with Leicester and “dashed” all hopes of an Arsenal move.

But, why did he turn down Arsenal? Or any other move for that matter? What will another season with Leicester prove?

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The Week of Retirements
When a Swedish king like Zlatan Ibrahimovic decides to retire from international football, it’s a sad day.

Like as if it couldn’t get any sadder, Leo Messi the Argentine Legend, decided to quit international football too! Two super stars leaving the international football scene!

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For Ibrahimovic, maybe the age factor was one that played a big role in causing him to hang the “International Boots.” But I’m still unsure why Messi decided to quit on Argentina at such a “young and tender” age of 29.

Three final losses in a row could be disheartening enough to make anyone give up. But even though Leo has “hung” his international boots, I’m sure the Argentina FA (AFA) will be scheming several ways to “unhang” those boots.

Worthy Mentions

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If you haven’t seen Shaqiri’s goal against Poland, you should check it out. One of the best of the Euro 2016 so far.

I can’t emphasize enough, the beautiful penalty-takers that Poland have. Against Switzerland, they kept rifling spotkicks into the top corner of the net!

Do you have any additions to my list? Something that caught your eye over the past week? Let me know! Share with me and others in the comments section below.

Also, don’t forget to share this great post with your friends. Sharing is caring! Share it with them and they’ll thank you. 😉

About Author
Rotimi Daramola is a freelance football writer, football analyst and football content creator that is in love with the beautiful game. You can keep up with all of his writing and also engage with him on Twitter @rotdav and on LinkedIn

The Tunisians Were ROBBED, Defenseless Super Eagles and More… Things I Learnt from the Tunisia vs Nigeria Game

The game between Tunisia and Nigeria was one between a team with a solitary point and the other with 3 points already after the first round of games at the CHAN tourney taking place in Rwanda. I’m thinking talks of qualifying for the next round (Nigeria) and not qualifying for the knockout phase (Tunisia) must have been part of the epistles both coaches must have preached to the disciples. But what happened on the pitch?

The Tunisians were DESPERATE but…
They did not give themselves away to the Super Eagles. The Northern Africans did their best to pretend – THE WHOLE TIME – that were under pressure. Maybe the pressure of getting booted out of the tournament. And their “acting” paid off. How? Let’s just say they played a little like Barcelona.

They kept ball-possession, their goalkeeper wasn’t, in the least, interested in kicking the ball into the midfield leading to millions of short passes in their own half (excuse my exaggerations). All this was to lure in the Eagle – the Super Eagles – into their own half. Once carried away by trying to regain possession of the ball, the Tunisian defenders made sure they made long passes to the flanks (left and right) where someone was ALWAYS present to receive the ball, heap pressure on the full-backs and cross back into the box where one man was ALWAYS on hand to hold up play and make the most of their opportunities. A. Akaïchi is his name. He made life miserable for Eze (a defender who in my opinion knows little, next to nothing about confidence in football) and deservedly got his goal – his third of the tournament – in the 2nd half of the game. A point earned for acting well. Now they have two. Job welldone Tunisians

Dear Oliseh, Chikatara OBVIOUSLY loves playing in the 2nd Half!
What more can be said about a player who can’t stop scoring more times in the second half than he does in the first? It was glaring from his DISMAL, GONE-AWOL performance in the first 45 of the game. He now has 4 goals – all scored in the second half – and is the leading goalscorer of the competition. I only hope Coach Oliseh has noticed this and will turn this boy’s strength into the TEAM’S strong point. Moving on…

The Tunisians SHOULD HAVE won the game
I mean they should have beaten their West African counterparts hands down and be the team with a leg in the knockout phase of the competition instead of Nigeria. The Tunisians enjoyed themselves while playing against a Nigerian side whose defending were porous and ‘almost’ ran awaybwith the game but the officials who should have made sure of their win made matters worse with their poor officiating – as is associated with referering in this part of the world.

When a team rattles the onion bag twice in the first 30 minutes of the game, you’d expect that they win the game. But football, according to my friend Tella, is still as naughty as used to be. At least they didn’t lose right? Middle finger(s) to poor officiating!

Instead of writing further, I’d rather make worthy mentions of the fact that players like Chikatara, who can’t stop scoring, Usman’s dynamic play and his ever-readiness to accept a pass in the mid-field – although his passes need more work, Ezenwa the goalie who has been impressive so far in the tournament should be allowed to play more for the Super Eagles, in competitions that are not all about African players based in Africa of course.

Kindly follow me on twitter @rotdav