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Keshi walking on thin ice

04 June 2012, 12:55 Tony Smart

I couldn’t convince myself to watch the World Cup qualifying match between the Super Eagles and Namibia live. Didn’t want to spend what is left of the day brooding and in regrets. The day had already been tainted with the loss of lives in two separate plane crashes. Consequently, I decided to salvage what is left of the day by monitoring the match analysis on radio.

From what I gathered from the analysis, the Super Eagles had a good game but failed to convert all their chances. Striker Ike Uche, I learnt was the major culprit even though he scored the only goal with few minutes left. One of the listeners that called in during the radio analysis raised a salient point. He said “This is more like a Dejavu. We saw beautiful football during the time of Siasia too but it didn’t transcend to anything.”

The much vilified former Super Eagles handler, Amodu Shaibu was criticised for adopting a more rigid, less attractive style of play for the Super Eagles. But Amodu till date holds the record for qualifying the country two times for the World Cup.

When the Eagles lost against Peru recently in an international friendly game, I began to have doubts about the so called resurgence the Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi has purportedly brought to the team. According to reports, the Eagles played beautiful football but only managed to score a goal.  

Football is all about getting results. A very good example is the recent triumph of Chelsea in the Uefa Champions League. Chelsea played Barcelona (arguably the best passers of the game) and Bayern Munich in the semi final and final respectively but against all odds came tops. Chelsea is not known to play attractive football but they were result oriented and that made the difference.

The question now is how is Keshi’s Eagles different from Siasia’s Eagles? I know you would say it is too early to judge but a critical look at Keshi’s achievements so far point otherwise. Under Keshi, the Eagles have played 5 games, won 2, lost two and drew one. Considering the oppositions, you will agree that Keshi has so far performed below average. The earlier Keshi realizes he is sitting on a keg of gun powder, the better for him. A popular sport analyst once said ‘the most difficult coaching job in the world is the Super Eagles job.’

Nigerians, I am afraid are result oriented and impatient. Although they want the best for the Super Eagles but the Eagles in recent past have brought more heartaches than joy to them. This has made them to always call for the head of any coach that is not delivering. Keshi should learn from the mistakes of his predecessors.  Those singing his praises to the high heavens would be same set of people that would crucify him if he fails to qualify Nigeria for the World and Nations Cup.

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