NIGERIA TAKES LESSONS FROM 2013 FIFA CONFEDERATIONS CUP: Exposes The Need To Step up Team Quality Ahead of 2014 World Cup

Nigeria national team is finally out of the 2013 FIFA Confederations cup in Brazil. It wasn’t a surprise to most football analysts; none of the emerging football nations from Japan, Mexico or Nigeria could create any upset. So as expected Europeans and South American teams dominated the tournament.

However, the Confederations cup served out its purpose. It was an eye opener for the Super Eagles coaching staff; that there’s a lot of work to be done. Perhaps, it finally dose-off the euphoria of AFCON win and Stephen Keshi’s unbeaten run as the Nigeria’s national team coach.

The tournament exposed some of the weaknesses of the Nigerian side and brought to fore the kind of quality required at that level of football competition.

The Game against Tahiti
Although the Super Eagles won the game 6 – 1, the Tahiti national team wasn’t a match for any of the teams at the tournament.

However, the game against Tahiti immediately exposed the vulnerability of the Nigerian team. There was a fundamental problem with the Super Eagles attack as players like Brown Ideye, Ahmed Musa, Sunday Mba were shooting wide.

Again, the fact that Tahitians were able to score a goal also showed how weak the Nigerian defence was.

The Game against Uruguay
I thought the Super Eagles could give the Uruguay team a scare, but the game began to show what the exact problem was. The Nigerian team lack the quality to compete at this level. The individual players in the team were just average and couldn’t make any impact.

Diego Forlan, Luis Suarez and Cavari took the game above their standard to give Uruguay their first win. Uruguay 2 Vs 1 Nigeria.

The Game against Spain
I personally think the Nigeria team put in their best performance of the tournament in the game against Spain, especially at the midfield. But the quality of the Spanish team was far beyond what  the Nigerians could handle.

The world and European champions took the Match away from them; outplaying the African Champions at every department of the game. Watching the Nigerian side miss begging chances further exposed the lack of quality for players like, Mohammed Gabo, Brown Ideye, and Joseph Apala… Spain won the game by 3 – 0.

Stephen Keshi’s Post Match Verdict
The Nigerian coach bemoaned his team and said he missed Victor Moses and Emmanuel Emernike; that both players would have made a huge difference in the team.

Keshi said the Nigeria team is still ‘work in progress.’ Would go back to amend all the faults he observed during the tournament.

Super Eagles Rating at the Tournament
If I have to rate each department of the Super Eagles over 100%, I will give the Defence 30%, Midfield 50% and Attack 15%. I personally think Mikel Obi, Elderson Echiejine and Kenneth Omeruo were able to step up their play during the tournament.

My Personal Verdict
I think Nigeria best legs were not included in the team.  FIFA Confederations cup was by far a different ball game from AFCON.

We require a lot more technical intelligence from the bench and a blend of quality players selected to do the country proud. This is the lesion for the 2014 FIFA world cup – that’s if Nigeria eventually qualifies.

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