Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Super Eagles vs Nigeria: The Fans Speak

LAST WEEK, I asked Soccertalk readers to pick their likely winners of the African play-offs for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and make suggestions on how the Super Eagles can avoid an upset against Ethiopia.

It’s gratifying to note that the majority of the respondents agreed largely with my tips on the African representatives: Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Cameroon and Algeria. As you will see from the letters, my only tip that isn’t popular is Algeria whom many believe will be eliminated by Burkina Faso. We wait and see.

Since my article last week, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have articulated the steps they are taking to address some of the issues  raised. A chartered flight is being arranged as recommended here, and the Eagles are scheduled to arrive just a day to the game so that the impact of the altitude on the players will be lessened before the game is played.

I have noticed also that the players, coaches and even the media have been cautiously optimistic in their estimation of the Ethiopia opposition. In various interviews and analyses, nobody is talking arrogantly that Ethiopia will be a walk-over, although everyone is confident that the Eagles have the capacity to beat them and qualify. That is the attitude and spirit that we need to succeed. We must not take Ethiopia for granted. All hands must be on the deck.
Massacre in Manchester!

JUST before the readers’ letters, a quick word on League football.

Manchester City showed a “glimpse” of why I have “gambled” on them to win this season’s English Premier League by posting a 4-1 demolition of rivals Manchester United last Sunday at the Etihad stadium. United fans may have a list of explanations for their comprehensive defeat.
But I’m of the opinion that City have the best squad in the EPL and they should win the title if they play to their potential consistently, especially against smaller clubsides. The key word here is “consistently.”

Actually, I was at the impressive Ilorin Township Stadium for the GLO Nigeria Premier League match between home side Abubakar Bukola Saraki (ABS) Babes FC and Heartland of Owerri when City were destroying United. Thanks to our indefatigable Ilorin correspondent Bayour Issa,  I saw ABS win 2-1 to ease their relegation pressures. But it was the Massacre in Manchester that was trending on social media.

One Liverpool fan who had been feeling very sore after “our” 1-0 home defeat to Southampton on Saturday couldn’t hide  his delight at United’s destruction by Sergio Aguero and company. He wrote, tongue in cheek, to our BBM group: “Guys, it’s not a bad weekend afterall!”


Mr. Octupus Alao, I disagree with your African Reps for Brazil 2014. It ‘ll be: Nigeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso. Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire. – Pst. Wisdom , Lagos.

Dear Mumini, evergreen as ever. In terms of cohesiveness, technicality, and talents, Eagles have an edge over Ethiopia. But, never have l seen a bunch of stars who get clay footed on away grounds like the Super Eagles. And, it didn’t start with Keshi; even in the face of timid oppositions. Champions should stamp their authority anywhere, anytime. Another endemic virus with the Super Eagles is that they usually allow teams with inferiority complex come into matches to garner confidence with their lackadaisical display; and inability to go full throttle when advantaged is another problem. I guess they need sound psychologists to work on their psyche. One needs not over look their profligacy in front of goal. I see them scrapping through though, but not convincingly. – Adegbenga Adeola, Lagos.

Nigeria needs two things to beat Ethiopia: Adequate preparation and avoiding complacency. I agree with your tips but Burkina Faso will qualify not Algeria. – Chigozie Lagos.

The first leg is key to Eagles success. The weather in Ethiopia will be a HUGE factor. I suggest we open camp in a high attitude nation close to Ethiopia with the home boys with the pros joining them there and moving to Ethiopia from camp. My tips: Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’ Ivoire, Cameroun, Burkina Faso. – Wilson, Agege,Lagos.

Oga Mumini, you have said it all. If the NFF reads your piece and follow your tips, our plane is already on the flight to Brazil 2014. – Osehojie David Odion, Lagos.

Oga Mumini, I agree with your World Cup tips and the suggestions to the NFF and the Super Eagles but I think what is missing is financial motivation in form of allowance/match bonus. Past occurrences have shown that these Eagles don’t joke with money, so I’ll advice that the NFF should be wary of this important factor.  – Kunle Ase, Osogbo.

I agree with your World Cup tips except the one between Ghana and Egypt. I tip Egypt to beat Ghana. – Olapade Temitope, Warri.

Good day Bros M. Your analysis of the Ethiopians has created some fear here, but the Super Eagles will do it for us. Brazil all the way. – Olapade Temitope, Warri.

Thanks for your wise saying on the Eagles en-route to Brazil 2014. I wish everyone concerned (players and coach) should read and meditate over this day and night till we finally land in Brazil. The Eagles must do serious work to come out of Addis Ababa without a wound going by their away records. The battle must be won in Addis Ababa because God has highly favoured us. I tip Nigeria,  Egypt, Cote d’Ivoire, Tunisia, Burkina Faso for Brazil. – Ayo samuel. Idimu.

Anything you say will be signed, sealed and approved without hesitation. Arguing with you amounts to arguing with the late Octopus Paul. You are 9ja’s Oracle. Abeg, carry go. -– Don VinOzi, Era Town, Ijanikin, Lagos.

Assalamu alaikum. I quite agree with your five tips for 2014 World Cup in Brazil.May Allah help Nigeria. – Hon Mohammad Sani Imam

A fast tempo game, because of the altitude in Ethiopia may affect our players towards the later part of the game. I suggest we start slowly, catch Ethiopia unawares and then, finish them at their own backyard. John Mikel Obi and Ahmed Musa (if his final ball doesn’t fail him this time around) are the key to the later factors. We can as well win UGLY, if we have to. Brazil 2014, here we come by the grace of God, AMEN. – Nationale from Alaba Mkt. Ojo Lagos.

Mumini, I am NOT comfortable with the near total conclusion by Nigerians that we are already qualified for the World Cup just because we have been drawn against Ethiopia in the play-offs. My hope is that the players don’t have this same arrogant attitude. If they do?... – Howard Odigie, Lagos.

lWe’re lucky to draw Ethiopia, but Super Eagles should work hard to win. There are no minnows in football again. – Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, Abia State.

If the Super Eagles want to qualify they should not underrate the Walya Antelopes. Keshi and the NFF should start preparation now. CIV under-rated Nigeria at the 2013 Nations Cup and paid for it. We mustn’t repeat the same mistake against Ethiopia. Among the ten, Eagles are favourite. Up Super Eagles. – Oseveta Romeo, Sapele.

No complacency. NFF should organize a friendly match before the encounter and the players should report early to be more cohesive. – Olowo Kazeem, Apapa, Lagos.

Dear Mumini, I have followed your writing since 1994. As we look towards Brazil 2014 (R.I.P.Ethiopia), kindly advocate the inclusion of Ikechukwu Uche in the Eagles. He remains one of our best strikers, probably only second to Emenike. Keshi should know that experience counts at the World Cup proper. – Obatosin Lawal, Ikeja.

Oga Mumini, I was one of those thinking Ethiopia was a walk-over. But after reading your article, I think we should be very careful. I completely agree with your tips, in fact it’s 5\5. – Tikwa Christopher, Ughelli.

My tips for the five Africa slots to the World Cup in Brazil are: Nigeria, Egypt, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon and Burkina Faso. Nigeria will beat Ethiopia home and away, because Nigeria is a true African champion. They just need to work hard. – Sunday Iloghalu, Lagos Island.

Alhaji, you have said it all, kudos to you. Our Super Eagles must not fall on banana peels. They must not allow their exchange of baton to drop. They must be professional and prayerful. The NFF must be watchful, follow the rules and observe the tricks. Above all, they must be scientific in their approach to the game. – M A Gbadamosi, Computer Centre, Maryland.

Thanks Mumini, I totally agree with your tips. On Eagles, NFF should please give Keshi free hand in selection of players, stop any interference that might bring distraction to the team and coaching crew, organize a friendly match before the encounter, commit the whole game in the hands of God. I believe, Nigeria will come out victorious. – Obioma Aryba Lewechi, Lagos.

I agree with your five tips to represent Africa in Brazil. Please let no one start pressing Keshi to bring Yobo, Osaze or anyone he doesn’t want at this point. – ???

Oga Mumini, I agree with you on the way forward towards beating Ethiopia. But I disagree on the five African qualifiers. Mine are: Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Burkina Faso and Tunisia. We may settle for a nervy aggregate win over Ethiopia because of a first leg score draw in Addis, altitude to blame. Caution is the word. – Dr. John Onyeokoro, Abuja.

My tips are Nigeria, Egypt, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroun and Burkina Faso. Eagles should land in Ethiopia 20 hours before the kick off time. The weather can only affect the players 48hours after arrival. Case in point: Kenya vs Nigeria, last group match, 2010 World Cup qualifier in Nairobi. – Felix, Port Harcourt.

Hi Mumini. I do not agree with your World Cup tips. My own tips are: Egypt, Cote d’ lvoire, Tunisia,  Algeria and Nigeria. NFF should not interfere in Keshì’s selection and the players must be dedicated and arrive on time. – Alhaji Balogun, Ketu, Lagos.

Mr. Alao, I dare to say that you are the best football analyst in the land, please keep it going. This is great for our nation. Please tell the NFF to start early preparation with the home-based team with the intention of selecting at least the best eight players for high altitude training. The coach can then find the finest mix of players for this assignment. Any form of complacency on our part would bring to the fore the essence of your Soccertalk title: Super Eagles vs Nigeria. I pray we will come out victorious in this battle. Wishing the Super Eagles the very best. – I. John.

Dear Mumini, I agree with you on how the Super Eagles can beat Ethiopia. I’ll add that we must pray earnestly  and trust God to give us resounding victory home and  away. My tips are Nigeria, Egypt, Cote d’ Ivorie, Cameroun and Algeria. – Lawrence I. Daniels, Akowonjo, Lagos.
Hello Mumini, let the Eagles work on their “psyche.” Let Keshi remind them of Akpoborie’s head bandage in ’97 and Aiyegbeni’s blood at Ombdurman 2001, they’ll surely beat Ethiopia. On the likely Afro qualifiers - Nigeria, Cote d’ivorie, Egypt, Cameroun and Burkina Faso. – Dan Nwokenye, Benin.

Your predictions match mine and we’re on the same page based on pedigree,good African representation and sympathy but I would prefer Burkina Faso to Algeria. NFF should read the riot act to the playing and coaching staff, make them see qualification to Brazil 2014 as a no-alternative option. No pampering but ensure conducive atmosphere for adequate preparation. Good job by Complete Sports. – Afolabi Musefiu Kolawole a.k.a. Prof KClO3 Ipetumodu, Osun State.

My tips are Nigeria, Egypt, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon and Burkina Faso to qualify for Brazil. – Okhakhu Johnson Otsabeli, Benin City.

My Oga at the top, more grease to your elbows. May your pen never run short of ink in Jesus name, amen. Any day, any time, Ethiopia are no match for Naija when it comes to football. They are known for running, not football. Brazi, here we come. – Emeka Patrick, Festac Town, Lagos.

Thank you, the Oracle of Nigerian football. But I disagree with your Algeria tip over high riding Burkina Faso, one of the most improved teams in Africa. Quote me, they will subdue the Warriors of Algeria. – Adewusi Adewale from Ibadan

I agree with you 80percent, except for the match Burkina Faso versus Algeria. I am giving it to Burkina Faso. – Uche Obasi, Coker.

Hi Mumini. This over confidence talk of overrunning Ethiopia by everybody bothers me greatly. I am praying fervently that God in His infinite mercy will not allow us experience a real life David and Goliath kind of battle. Amen and Amen. Long live Nigeria. – K.B Father, Ojodu, Lagos.

My only advice to NFF is that they should increase the player bonuses. – Felix Abayomi Afowowe, Agbado Crossing, Lagos.

If Nigeria want to overcome Ethiopia they should camp in a country with similar high altitude instead of camping in Nigeria. –  Adekunle Lamikanra, Ikorodu, Lagos.

Ghana versus Egypt: Sorry sir, Ghana is going nowhere other than Cairo and back home. All the football power houses with their best stars always stumble against the Pharaohs nowadays because of their cohesive style of play; ask Ivory Coast, Nigeria, even Cameroon. It takes a small country to take out Egypt when it matters most. For the Super Eagles and the NFF, you have said it all sir. – Inyang, Iyana-Ipaja. Lagos.

I agree with your five tips to qualify from Africa. Any changes will be an upset. Thanks for your analysis. –Dipo Osuntokun, Ibadan.

Alhaji Alao, I pray for the following: A- injury free for our players.  B- selection based on current form. C- adequate preparation. D- motivation of players. E- constant communications between Keshi and his boys. Lastly, Mikel and other big boys should sustain their current spirit by arriving Eagles camp on time and they must ready to work for each other. With all these and Allah’s Taufiq, victory is certain. Wa ssalaamu alaykum. – Imam Usman, Minna.

Oga Mumini, if your soccer analysis is like a woman cooking soup, your husband must spend his last kobo to keep you. I agree with all your tips except Burkina Faso which will send Algeria packing. As for Eagles, Keshi should bring back IK Uche to assist Emmanuel Emenike. This is our time now to be beating any opponent with harvest of goals. – Isegbe Urube, Bbagada, Lagos.
Oga Mumini, your Soccertalk is the major reason I don’t miss Complete Sports. Your analysis is always factual and objective. Keep it up. I believe Egypt will beat Ghana, but I agree with your other tips. – Ajima, Silas, INEC headquarters, Abuja.

Oga Alao, I disagree with your view that we defeated a “second string” Burkina Faso in Kaduna. It’s not our fault that they didn’t bring their first team. Nigeria deserves full credit for our 4-1 win. – Adefuwa Segun, Lagos.

My friends will testify that I correctly predicted all five pairings for the African World Cup play-offs. Now, I’m predicting again that Nigeria, Egypt, Senegal, Cameroon and Algeria will pick the final tickets. – Osita Ibenecheazu (Gakwe), Ojota, Lagos.

If Keshi sticks to his winning team, we’ll beat Ethiopia home and away. No quota system at this stage. – Engr. Orji Issac.

Dear Mumuni, your tips and advice to the Super Eagles were superb, explosive, and patriotic. If they like, let them hear. I believe the Walya Antelopes of Ethiopia is a divine gift to our birthright of qualifying for Brazil 2014. -- Amadin Osagie Andrew, Ijesha, Lagos.

Great tips Bro. In my opinion, I tip Nigeria, Egypt, Cameroun, Burkina Faso and Cote d’ Ivorie. My advise to Eagles is that they should not play stylish game, they should go for result and fire for fire. I wish them luck. – Paul A. Sango, Ota, Ogun State.

If we are focused, I see Super Eagle winning 3-1 in Addis Ababa and 6-0 in Calabar. On your tips, l only disagree about Cameroon. I see Tunisia going through.  -- Tunde Adeladan, Ijaiye, Lagos.

If Super Eagles underrate Ethiopia, that is their own cup of tea. Hard work is the answer to success. --Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia.

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