‘Ifreke talks Sports: 7 things we learnt from the Nigeria vs France match

by Ifreke Inyang

Pogba-Nigeria June2014

It’s safe to say the fight ended as soon as Matuidi ended Onazi’s evening with a nasty tackle, for which he could have easily been sent off. The Eagles’ midfield went flat and France swarmed forward at will. 

 

France tested

Don’t get it twisted. The Super Eagles gave a good account of themselves against Les Bleus. Stephen Keshi’s men continued from their fine display against the Argentines today. They lost because there was not enough incisiveness in the final third. Well done boys!

Enyeama: Hero and villain

It was Enyeama in excelsis today. The Lille stopper thwarted Karim Benzema, Valbuena and Paul Pogba will some excellent saves, but was also at fault for Pogba’s opener – the goal that effectively settled the tie. We don’t blame you, Vincent. A monument shall be erected in your honour!

Mikel Obi must be replaced

Even Ahmed Musa has proven in Brazil that there is more to him than we have seen. But Mikel Obi’s football has gradually, but steadily gone down the drain. The Chelsea midfielder brings nothing to the team. Against the French that boasted Pogba, Cabaye and Matuidi in the middle, it appeared as if only Onazi was up for the fight.

Of substitutions and game changers

It’s safe to say the fight ended as soon as Matuidi ended Onazi’s evening with a nasty tackle, for which he could have easily been sent off. The Eagles’ midfield went flat and France swarmed forward at will. When Antoine Griezmann came on, the Real Soceidad added more invention and zip to his team.

The future is bright

Goalkeepers almost have an eternal longevity about them. Although Enyeama is over 30, it’s fair to say we can have him in the team for another three to five years. Oboabona and Omeruo will be our future partnership in central defence. Oshaniwa deputised well for the equally youthful Echiejile. Ahmed Musa is 21. If we can scout new players, fine. But the core is great.

We must keep Keshi

After the game, I watch a post-match interview where BBC’s Shina Okeleji asked Keshi if he was staying on as Nigeria coach. The Big Boss replied with a diplomatic “I don’t know’. We have heard rumours about South Africa trying to get him, but we can only hope he stays on for continuity sake. Besides, qualifiers for the next Africa Cup of Nations is around the corner.

So long, Yobo

Yobo finally got his 100th cap – the first Nigerian to achieve this feat. It was a mild surprise that Keshi chose not to start with Oboabona, but Yobo was decent. However, this should be it for the captain. Pity his international career ended with that own goal.

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‘Ifreke Inyang tweets via @Ifreke

 

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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