When Americans use the expression, ‘Fall apart like a $2 suitcase’, they refer to situations where either a good argument, or someone who they expect to stand strong, disintegrates under the slightest of pressure.
The home based Eagles fit well into that parameter following their 4-1 humiliation in the final of the 2017 WAFU Cup. But as always, there are lessons in that defeat for the NFF, Salisu Yusuf and his backroom staff.
For a start, let’s get the excuses out of the way: Ghana had been in camp longer than Nigeria. The Ghanaians started preparations for CHAN long before Nigeria, but failed to qualify for that tournament. They poured all their energy into this one, and they are deserved winners.
Coach Yusuf informed the media his wards are finding life difficult on the natural grass pitch at Cape Coast as most of the pitches approved for our domestic league matches are artificial. It is not important at this point whether the argument is legitimate or not.
Here are the lessons;
The home based Eagles needs new talent as it was apparent from the first game and it became progressively evident as the competition went on.
Ikechukwu Ezenwa’s brilliance in goal however covered the lapses of the team until he conceded four in the final.
The team lacked flow, playing from the back and that may be attributed to the fact that they didn’t have enough time to train together or that they lacked a creative midfielder. The fact that they play in the same league doesn’t translate to instant understanding.
Since the WAFU tournament is here to stay, maybe it’s time to use the international window to bring home based players together for training camps too.
The team needs a good psychologist. It’s as simple as that.
The Eagles may not be top-notch, but they are not 4-1 bad. They failed to match the energy of the Ghanaians from the get-go, and were second best on 50-50 balls all night.
The CHAN competition is a bigger one and Yusuf and his crew now know what they’re up against: poor midfield play, anxious defence and listless front runners.