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CHAN Eagles

The CHAN tournament turned out to be an interesting one. Maybe this is because Nigeria qualified for the mundial. By and large, the various teams showed passion and quality; from the North African teams that showed flair, to the West Africans who showed a ‘never die’ spirit, strength and technique, it was truly a tournament to remember. But there are a few things teams will pick out from their exploit at the tournament especially those who have tickets booked for Brazil 2014. In Nigeria, there were many eye-opening realities which both the team, coach and the Nigerian Football Federation must correct. Nigerian league can get better The lacklustre display by the CHAN Eagles at the semi-final made our great comeback at the quarter-finals seem unimportant. This is a sign that the league where this crop of Eagles emanate from is not standard enough and there is room for improvement. That way, the players will be exposed to pressure situations often and master the art of seeing off an opponent down by a man with ease. Home-based players should have two spots for Brazil This tournament has been quite an eye-opening event. I personally was impressed with Ejike Uzoenyi, Mohammed Ali, Ibrahim Abubarka, and Odunlami Kunle; but I don’t believe these players are up to the challenge yet. Players like Odunlami and Uzoenyi can make the cut to Brazil because we will surely need cover at the wings and at the defence where Kenneth Omeruo is injury prone. Ejike Uzoenyi can be the Super Eagles x-factor at the World Cup He started the tournament soft, but picked up and became the one player the Eagles turned to when in trouble, and he never did disappoint. He is the only player who has proved beyond all reasonable doubt that he deserves a place in Brazil. He capped his performance at the tournament by winning the coveted Most Valuable Player award. His runs at the wings will undoubtedly be handy for the Super Eagles in Brazil. Keshi has proved himself If there is one thing we are sure of, it is that there is no better coach to take the Super Eagles to the World Cup than Steven Keshi. With the way he assembled the home-based players who showed individually that they lacked some of the basics of football and still went on to put up impressive performances that kept the supporters on their feet all through, one can’t help but wonder how many trophies would have been won if Keshi was employed earlier. Super Eagles need to get sharp strikers There was only one common flaw between the Super Eagles and the CHAN Eagles; it is our ‘finishing’. This attribute was so glaring in the semi-final lost to Ghana and the last Confederation Cup tournament. Keshi and his scouting department need to find sharp strikers that can finish up begging chances as it is said, “if you can’t score, you can’t win matches.” Proven strikers like Ike Uche, Osaze Odemwingie and Victor Anichiebe need to be recalled to the Eagles.  

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This article was first published on 6th February 2014


Martins Okafor is a Sports Writer for Connect Nigeria. He has been a sport buff for years, following stories and development in leagues and international competitions. His interest led him to writing stories – reporting on sporting events. He has superior interest in soccer, but knows much about other sports. He plans to have a blog and to advance in sport journalism. You can email him at: obimartins85 [at]

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