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Sports Five lessons learnt from Nigeria's 1-0 defeat to Sudan


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Barring any miracle,the Super Eagles might likely not qualify for the 2015 African Nations Cup tournament in Morocco.

Not an understatement but very evident of the team's standing after three games in the qualifiers.

As defending champions of the Nations Cup,the Super Eagles should be in pole position to qualify for the next edition of the tournament,alas they are rock bottom of their group in the qualifiers.

Nigeria currently lies in fourth position behind the trident of South Africa(table toppers with seven points)Congo (coming second with six points) and Sudan(third with three points).

And with three matches to go in the remaining qualifying games,it doesn't look good for Nigeria in their bid to be in Morocco next year.

The game against Sudan was one keenly anticipated to revive Nigeria's qualification hopes,but the reverse seems to be the case as it could have been the final nail in the coffin for the Super Eagles.

However,it looked as though the team contrived not to turn up in the game as an abject display earned them a deserving defeat.

Below we tried to examine some of the things that were not done right against Sudan,which in one way or the other contributed to Nigeria's defeat to the Sudanese.


*Emenike a shadow of himself:
Was a lethal beast for the Super Eagles last year,but off late the Fenerbahce striker has been anything but a shadow of the player Nigeria saw at the 2013 African Cup of Nations.

It has been a year since Emenike got his last goal for Nigeria and he has now gone on an extended drought without finding the net.

Emenike had good chances to score against Sudan but he ended up fluffing the opportunities.

In his predatory best,Emenike would have put away an attempted lob in the first half and also a cut-back from John Obi Mikel through a free-kick in the second half.

One wonders if his outbursts about his disagreement with Super Eagles coach,Stephen Keshi,is getting to him.



*Nigeria's defence was slow
That Nigeria is languishing bottom of their group is largely due to the slow-pace of their defence.

Against Sudan,immediately after a pass was whipped down Nigeria's left-back position one would have expected Nigeria's defence to have adjusted accordingly anticipating a cross.

Rather they were caught ball-watching and a pinpoint cross was swung into the box,two attacking Sudanese players were left free and Bakri Abd Elgadir made no mistakes as he headed in past Vincent Enyeama.

The cheeky goals Nigeria have conceded in the qualifiers have been baffling as they were errors that could have been avoided.




*Efe Ambrose not a right-back:
The way Efe Ambrose was exposed against Sudan was a stunning lesson in the match.

Mainly a centre-back,but Keshi has stuck him to the right-back position while playing for the national team.

And little wonder that he always seems to be off the mark when he comes up against ball-keeping and pacy wingers.

Bakri Abd Elgadir(scorer of the goal) gave Ambrose so much troubles that he went into the book in the second half for his reckless tackle on him close to the box.

The Sudanese tried to exploit his position in the game,making runs behind the Celtic defender.

He left his man unmarked and he ran in to meet a cross that resulted in the goal for Sudan.




*No directness:
The Super Eagles lacked any penetration and they paid dearly for it in the match.

Nigeria got good chances early on in the match and at least should have made one count.

Rather they were content at passing the ball around without any invention to break through Sudan's rearguard.

At some point,the Super Eagles resorted to floating long balls that was meaningless at the end of the day.

And unless you have Peter Crouch as a centre forward,there was no point playing long balls that looked nothing short of a panic option.



*Keshi outwitted again
In the last three games for Nigeria,Keshi has been bested by his opposing tacticians.

Keshi went with the same starting eleven that started against the Bafana Bafana of South Africa,except for Vincent Enyeama who was not in goal at Cape Town last month.

Claude Le Roy,Shakes Mashaba and now Sudan's coach have all come out tops in the tactical battle,with Keshi only second best in the duels.

Maybe the uncertainty over his future as Super Eagles coach has sapped Keshi,but he hasn't inspired any confidence in his abilities to steer this sinking ship to safety.


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Well written piece Chris and for Keshi, i do hope the lessons have been learnt. Chris, hope I can now officially say that Nigeria is back to that familiar point where we use the 'IF' permutation for the rest of the competition i.e If Nigeria beats... and then if Sudan draws against... If South Africa... :D:D:D
 
Well written piece Chris and for Keshi, i do hope the lessons have been learnt. Chris, hope I can now officially say that Nigeria is back to that familiar point where we use the 'IF' permutation for the rest of the competition i.e If Nigeria beats... and then if Sudan draws against... If South Africa... :D:D:D
Lolz....Calculators already out. Clearly Nigeria's grace lies in the hands of other countries doing the usual: "beating others" for them to qualify.
 
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