HOW EAGLES RATE AGAINST BURKINA FASO
Posted: Jan 22, 2013
VINCENT ENYEAMA: Largely untroubled in the first half but the Maccabi Tel Aviv goaltender was busy in the second stanza especially after Efe Ambrose was sent off. Enyeama did well to parry Dagano’s goal-bound shot into corner kick in the 63rd minutes. But the goalkeeper was too exposed to do anything about the dying seconds’ equaliser. Rating 5.
EFE AMBROSE: That Ambrose is not comfortable in his adopted full back role showed for the umpteenth time as his rash tackles when under pressure fetched him two yellow cards which ultimately led to his being given the matching orders in the 74th minute and that soiled whatever good works he had done initially. Rating 3.
ELDERSON ECHIEJILE: He was average from his left wing-back position. Not too comfortable joining the attack but he always at alert to do his defensive duties when the team come under attack. Rating 5.
JOSEPH YOBO: The veteran skipper tried his best to keep his defence tight but it was obvious that Yobo has lost some pace which the Stallions attackers tried to capitalise on several instances. However, what he has lost in pace he made up with good positioning because of his immense experience. Rating 4.
GODFREY OBOABONA: The only home-based Eagles in the line-up. Oboabona had a good outing and did well to compliment Yobo in the heart of the Eagles defence. A tireless defender with high work rate, he used his youthfulness to cover up well for his ageing skipper. Oboabona’s only minus in the game was failing to clear the ball out of danger in the dying minutes which led to the Stallions’ equaliser. Rating 6
MIKEL OBI: The midfielder was a delight to watch playing directly in front of the back four as he does for Chelsea. He dictated Eagles play and generally commanded the team’s engine room. He linked well with the defence and also initiated most of the team’s attack by supplying his well known long passes which led to Nigeria’s only goal of the game. Rating 8.
NOSA IGIEBOR: Real Betis attacking midfielder combines well with Mikel in the midfield and did his fair share of defensive and attacking duties. Good on the ball with attacking flair but needs to take certain decision quick on ball distribution. Rating 6.
FENGOR OGUDE: The hard man was saddled with the responsibility of dirty work in the midfield. Ogude made up for his lack of pace with his robust play which helped put the Stallions on the back foot for most part of the game. He needs to be more polished with his tackles though. Rating 5.
AHMED MUSA: The Lokomotiv Moscow of Russia forward was not in his element in the game only showing occasional flashes of his brilliance which could have made the difference for the Eagles on a good day. Rating 5.
BROWN IDEYE: The Dynamo Kiev of Ukraine striker gave a good account of himself. Good ball skills, great runs on and off the ball, good positioning and team work was his hallmark. Made up for a couple of missed chances by setting up his strike partner, Emenike, for Nigeria’s only goal of the game. Rating 6.
EMMANUEL EMENIKE: Justified coach Stephen Keshi’s confidence in giving him the lead striking role by scoring Nigeria’s goal in the 23rd minute. He put his immense physical strength to good use and was a handful for the Burkina Faso defenders all through before he was subbed by Ikechukwu Uche. Rating 7.
IKECHUKWU UCHE (57th min): Came on for Emmanuel Emenike. The Villarreal of Spain forward was in too much haste to put his name on the score-sheet but ended up wasting 2 clear-cut scoring chances in the 65th and 80th minutes which could have fetched the maximum points for Nigeria. Rating 3.
OGENYI ONAZI (69th min): Replaced Ogude and did well in marking the rampaging Stallions who were gingered after Nigeria were reduced to 10 men. He however, lacks the experience needed to hold play in the dire situation the Eagles found themselves when they needed to close shop in the dying minutes. Rating 3. KENNETH OMERUO (77th min): Came in as a forced substitution for Brown Ideye to plug the leaking left wing-back after Ambrose was sent off. The Ado Den Haag of Netherlands youngster gave a good account of himself and what he seemingly lacks in experience, he made up with good ball sense and mobility which he used in joining the team’s attack. Rating: 4
Eagles In Hiding
If seclusion has any effect on a team’s performance at a major championship, then the Super Eagles should win the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations easily.
Their Ingwenyanma Conference and Sports Resort base is the most secluded here in Nespruit and it takes time and serious money to get there.
It takes around 30 minutes from town to get to the sprawling resort and the cheapest taxi fare is 200 rand (about N4,400) just to get there. To get back to town is another story as taxis hardly go to the place and you are likely to be stranded.
In stark contrast, the Eagles’ opponents stay in town where they can be easily reached, Zambia at Protea Hotel and Burkina Faso at Mercure, just behind one of the city’s several shopping malls.
The weather has been playing games here in Nelspruit.
While it rained on Sunday and it was so chilly some of us needed thick jackets, it was quite warm on Monday and it felt a bit like Lagos.
I was sandwiched between Ethiopia and Zambian journalists in the media tribune when their countries played and it felt like an earthquake at times.
The journalists were even more agitated than the fans and they repeatedly banged on the table and shook the whole section, especially a burly fellow from Zambia
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