After watching the Nigeria Vs Italy Match at the a Craven Cottage, London yesterday night I think Nigeria is 70% ready for the World Cup in 2014 at Brazil. Why did I say 70% and not 10% or 50%, we’ll find out soon.
Before the game against Italy yesterday night I was a bit skeptical of the teams chances in the match, and that is not due to the fear of playing one of the best teams in World football at the moment but it was due to the match timing, we had just played a Very tiresome game against Ethiopia in Calabar on Saturday and to top it off the game was played in the evening, now the players had to make a 5 hours trip from Nigeria to London and then train before they play Italy yesterday, that was almost a suside mission on it’s own, I felt the timing of friendly match was bad but somehow the Super Eagles showed extreme professionalism.
We really didn’t start the match well, in fact both teams started the match slowly before Rossi got the first goal of the game in the 12th minute, I think that goal shook up the team and Nigeria started taking the game to the Italians, most notably through Victor Moses’s wing and we deserved our equaliser from Bright Dike, I think it will be horrific not to take this lad to the World Cup, he scored an absolute beauty on his debut for Nigeria against The Cataluña (a part of the Spanish team who all come from Barcelona and Espanyol) and on his second match against Italy he delivered the goods, a perfect cross from Shola Ameobi was enough for Dike to get on the score sheet with a well timed and perfect header beating Sirigu in goal for Italy, overall I feel Bright Dike is a total beast of a striker and he gives defenders a lot to worry about with his extreme body and pace.
Shola Ameobi got the second goal for Nigeria which came as a shock to the Italians, Benjamin Francis’s well delivered low cross fell on the leg of Ameobi and he simply volleyed it into the net from quite a tight angle (Talk about Experience here) that was also Ameobi’s second goal for Nigeria since making his debut against Venezuela, Surely all things being equal Ameobi will be going to the World Cup as he brings experience to the team and he makes defenders look like Chickens when he’s at this best.
Austin Ejide is just a ‘WOWER’ (is that even an English word), he made extremely Brilliant saves to deny the Italians from scoring more, and I feel he gives Stephen Keshi a tough time on who to select as his first choice goal keeper, some time during the match I began to worry if he was act for real, he frustrated Mario Balotelli who couldn’t just find a way to get the ball past him , I actually felt sad when he had to be taken off the match after sustaining what seemed to be a thigh injury, in came the most of in form goal keeper on planet earth Vincent Enyeama to replace him, Vincent Enyeama has kept 8 clean sheets in 11 games for Lille this season and he is the reason why Lille are second in the French Ligue 1, Enyeama continued from where Ejide stopped and made up to 4 world class saves in the last 15 minutes of the game. I love think we have two of the best goal keepers in the world (and yes you can quote me anywhere @stamfordgeezer says so) they both were my players of the match alongside Ogenyi Onazi
Ogenyi Onazi is such a fantastic talent, I think he only needs to be a bit lucky with goals he should actually work more on scoring his shots because he has quite a decent range of the, we saw some against Ethiopia on Saturday in Calabar and Sirigu had to be at his best to deny him from Scoring one of them yesterday, he was actually named Man of the match at the final whistle and I think he could have got us the winning goal in the 91st minute if he hadn’t taken to many touches before releasing his shot, John Ogu did extremely well when he came on for Oduamadi in the second half, Apparently Nnamdi Oduamadi has been battling Malaria all week long, Ogu could have got the a goal from a fiercely struck shot which Sirigu quite awkwardly had to punch upwards for a Nigerian corner, I feel he was decent enough, he still needs to work on his shots just like Onazi and we’ll be having two Centre midfielders with ‘bullet shots’ (Remember Sunday Oliseh and Jay Jay Okocha)
Mikel Obi did well especially in the first half as Ricardo Montolivo and Tiago Motta where no where to be found in the midfield he simply kept both in his back pocket, and Victor Moses was brilliant, I think he needs to work on his finishing, he’s got pace and he can dribble I just feel his finishing lets him down a lot.
To the not so fantastic, I’ll start of with Solomon Kwambe I think he was slow thorough out the game and he was a bit shy in going forward to cross the ball which is one of the primary work of a Right Back although when he got forward once he provided the assist for Shola Ameobi’s goal, I felt Benjamin Francis should have been marking Giacherrini when he got the equaliser for Italy, he needs to work hard more, Overall I feel Benjamin Francis who played Left back for Nigeria díd well as he tracked back and also supported the team in attack bar Giacherrini’s goal
Where was Brown Ideye, he came on for Victor Moses 15 minutes to the end of the game and he just vanished from the surface of the pitch, was he hiding from cameras or simply afraid of the ball, well we’ll have to ask him to find out.
Godfrey Obaobona andn Azubike Egwueke where decent in defence, I feel if they keep playing together they can become quite a fantastic pairing in the defense, Egwueke did well especially, I still have not forgiven him for missing the penalty that made my darling Warri Wolves lose the Federation Cup final to Enyimba, but I feel he gets even better each time he plays for Nigeria.
What can I say about Coach Stephen Keshi, he’s absolutely superb, he’s gradually building a decent team that can challenge big European countries when it comes to the big stage, I feel our Attack and midfield is gradually taking shape but our defence is not just there yet, i am still part of the group that think Joseph Yobo should be recalled back to the team for the World Cup he’s the captain and deserves much more, he’ll add grit and grip plus he’s experience into the team, and for some reason I’ll love to see one or two of Musa Muhammad/Bello or Abubakar which all featured for Nigeria at the just concluded Under 17 world cup in the defense for the Super Eagles as under study/Back up players to the World Cup next year.
Overall Super Eagles should be commended for their display against the Italians, well done Super Eagles and see you in Brazil.
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For those who Missed the match you can watch the match highlights Below, courtesy @NaijaSoccernet, give them a follow on twitter if you love Nigeria Football http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFXJeONvkn0