Monday, February 04, 2013

EAGLES WATCH: THE KESHI TOUCH by Chijioke ''CeeJay'' Ezeali

In 2004, the Greek National team won the Euros with a very average team but had great team spirit, a coach who was technically on point and the players with the best fitness ever seen of a collective group. 

Also in 2006, the French National team against all odds got to the world cup final.Although they eventually lost to Italy; the world recognized their efforts, team spirit, courage, and the will to defend their country's pride. 

So also some die-hard Eagles fans hoped the Eagles show these characters as they matched into the 29th African Nations cup as massive underdogs. 

In fairness to the Eagles team, the coaching crew had few months to put the team together before the tournament and when the final list of 23 came out, it consisted of 17 debutant and that in truth hasn’t inspired confidence amongst Nigerians.

Now, after four games at AFCON the optimism of winning the tournament is so high in the minds of Nigerians but what caused this sudden rise in believe? Well the answer is not far-fetched.
The Eagles defeated tournament favourite and Africa’s highest ranked team in the world, the Ivorian national team with former and current African footballers of the year Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure respectively and it was no fluke because the Eagles dominated possession in large parts of the game and showed character to re-take the lead after Drogba had miss-led the referee into awarding him a free kick that resulted in his team’s equalizer against the Eagles.
But for me I was happier that Keshi’s coaching input showed and the players played with great understanding, their role interpretation was on point, they were without fear, calm in possession, never tried to show off just did the simple things, appreciated others by clapping when there is a misplaced pass or wrong shot at goal, and handled a tactical formation well. 

I would have loved to sing praises of individual players but it was a team effort because they fought for themselves without complains, they shared each other’s mental strength, and that tackle inside the box by Mikel on Traore at the closing stages of the game epitomizes the teams collective will to succeed. 

That tackle was as important as Emenike’s powerful freekick goal and Sunday Mba’s power driver that gave the Eagles the historic 2-1 victory over tournament favourite’s the Ivory Coast.
Next up is the National team of Mali and for the first time since the tournament started the Super Eagles of Nigeria will have the biggest support from fans at home because they have won our hearts but let’s be careful with our expectations because the other semi-finalist are strong teams too. 
Super Eagles crush Elephants dreams
Hopefully, it will be Nigeria vs Ghana in the final which will be a sell out and massive advertisement for African football, so like we always do please pray for the Nigerian National team and maybe like the Greek team that defiled all odds to win the Euros in 2004, our darling Eagles may just make it title number three.

Chijioke CeeJay Ezeali is a creative football writer and is passionate about the super eagles of Nigeria. He is also a football pundit and manage one of the most vibrant football chat group on BBM

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