Clash of two footballing cultures, and the superior one won
The football match between Nigeria and Morroco last night was clearly a clash of two footballing cultures. Nigeria is the best of the countries with wobbly leagues and raw strength and talent. When this came up against a culture of organized football, smooth league system, slick football, etc, ours crashed.
Reasons why Nigeria lost
- Nigeria league was on recess for three months in a country of indiscipline where nobody was controlling the players. They returned to the CHAN with crude energy
- It was clear in the pitch that the Nigerians were unfit. They were throwing themselves at the slick Morrocans and getting injured.
- Soon, their feet were giddy and they could not kick the ball far. Passes were no longer going anywhere. They played exactly like the midfield of Tottenham Hotspurs who conceded two goals but lacked the bite in attack that won two goals to the Spurs.
- The lack of fitness led to injury of first choice goalkeeper. It also led to poor tackling and red card.
- The Morrocans run a smooth league where players are properly signied on and regularly paid. They follow training patterns and grow from the league to the national teams. Our league is just strarting to grow again. The players are never paid the little they are promised. Discipline therefore is low because everybody is hungry and disillusioned.
- The Nigerian players have other things in their minds; the $1.25m at stake, home reward, plus possible signings to better leagues. Patriotism was important too, but something more than that.
- Absence of academy football. We have no respect for this aspect. Our boys get to 21 before they realize thay can play football. This is achaic. The primary schools that supplied talents have died due to private schools that do not have facilities for sports and public schools that are too young and infested with cultism. We must go to academies in every local council to produce youngsters that trap, pass, run with ball and turn. Also, they must know how to tackle legitimately, how to react to early goals, how to manage defeat and reduce disgrace, etc.
- On the whole, we must praise the boys. The defeat was for us all, our system, our leadership. We can only come back to perfect our league and make it a residual league instead of a hustling platform.
- Nigeria once came from 4-0 to win in Damman. Our football must build on that and train our boys to remember the Damman Miracle and know that we can regroup and fight back, or how to shut down a game and take a narrow loss.