By Christian Okpara
Nigeria was beaten 4-2 in their opening group game against Brazil at the New Zealand 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup. But some followers of the game believe that the result would have been different if the coaches were not over ambitious in their team selection.
Former Super Eagles defender, Emeka Ezeugo, said it was suicidal for the coaches to play a big game against Brazil without adequate cover for the Flying Eagles’ defence, adding that the South Americans must have danced for joy when they saw that the Nigerian team had only one holding midfielder in the game.
“Nigeria could not do anything in the midfield because the lone player there was overwhelmed by the sheer number of the opposition. The Flying Eagles resorted to lobbing the ball from defence to attack, which paid off well for the Brazilians.
“I expected the Nigerian coaches to bring in another midfielder 20 minutes into the game, but they allowed the play to go on up till late in the match.
“You don’t because you have good strikers sacrifice other departments of your team. That is not done.
“Granted that Iheanacho, Awoniyi, Musa Yahawa and Isaac Success are good strikers, but you cannot play all of them at once and ignore the midfield.”
To another former international, Jonathan Akpoborie, the Flying Eagles lacked organization and was not able to soak up the pressure when the Brazilians took the game to them .
“The outcome was not too surprising. The boys are on a learning curve and they should not be judged by one game. They are still in their developmental stages, that is why I kept saying they should not pile too much pressure on them, with the win at all cost attitude….and at this level, that is very important, especially in defending,” he added.
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