Africa’s representative for the FIFA Confederations Cup arrived Brazil on Thursday after their below par displays in their Group F World Cup qualifying match against Namibia.
Nigeria will play debutantes Tahiti in Belo Horizonte on Monday before facing Uruguay and Spain in their next two matches of the eight-team tournament.
Since the Africa Cup of Nation in South Africa, Nigeria had played four matches, drawn three of those and won one, the only victory coming from last week’s game against Kenya in Nairobi.
Nigeria’s readiness for the World Cup dress-rehearsal has been undermined by injuries to key players from the victorious AFCON 2013 Eagles, to say the least. This has been evident in the series of matches played of late; notwithstanding, Eagles are still hopeful of springing up surprises as they’ve been noteworthy for such.
On Thursday, as the team left Windhoek for Rio de Janeiro captain Vincent Enyeama said they’d come up against a spirited side in the Namibians.
“You have to give credit to the way Namibia played and the saves (by Virgil Vries) their goalkeeper but also look at the fact we had our chances earlier on to finish off the game. We’ve now got to put this behind us,” Enyeama told Reuters.
Let’s save one another of the Namibia match bygones and keep moving forward, after all, it was a face-saving draw.
The Confederations Cup might not be the priority at the moment, how about Mikel Obi, the only player with an international profile in the Eagle’s squad lining up against the likes of Fernando Torres or Monaco’s new recruit Edinson Cavani, our national cum continental pride must be at stake.
The Super Eagles are on an 18-game unbeaten run and I hope that’s not as far as it gets considering the lack of bite in the Eagles’ frontline. They were frequently exposed on Wednesday by the pace of the 125th-ranked Namibians and were fortunate to have ended with a draw.
Prior to February’s South Africa tournament, nobody had given the coach Stephen Keshi-led boys a chance but as faith would have it, they went on and performed the miracle Nigerians had longed for in 19 years.
The World Cup is just 364 days from now and Nigeria needs a draw from the home game against Group F contenders, Malawi in September. Credit must be given to these players with due respect to a hectic June schedule and the manner with which they have come up with two late goals in their last two World Cup qualifiers.
While the fortunes of 2013 aren’t all but exhausted, it’s time for the Government to do these players a little good once again. Their enthusiasm is not matched by much experience, far worse if match bonuses should compound their woes.
Someone said ‘God is a Nigerian’ and the injury worries vanished. Victor Moses and co will be back again. Don’t you have the feelings that this Eagles are just starting? Believe! Nigeria will make it to the 2014 World Cup.