THREE THINGS NIGERIANS SHOULD GET TALKING ABOUT TODAY
• Chikatara tops scorers’ chart in Rwanda
• Sunday Oliseh gets winning start in CHAN 2016
Nigeria made a bright start in their campaign with an emphatic win over their sub-regional neighbours, Niger Republic. Both nations are making only their second appearances at the Africa Nations Championship.
A not so impressive first half will quickly be forgotten with the goal fest that followed in the second interval of the game between West Africa neighbours, Nigeria and Niger Republic at the Stade de Kigali. A cautious approach from both teams, but with the Mena of Niger proving to be the more adventurous of both sides, it may have signalled the rekindling of urgency from Sunday Oliseh’s wards.
Enugu Rangers winger Osas Okoro stirred the game to life with volley to beat Alzouma in goal. Thereafter, there was ascendancy in the game play of the Eagles. There were however, occasions in the game where Niger pressed on for the equalizer, but Nigeria hit them against the run of play. Second half substitute Chisom Chikatara put paid to all the attempts and attacking effort of his team.
With a difference of three goals, Nigeria top Group C with the highest margin in the competition so far.
You play for the badge on the front of your team jersey. You give your all. The name on the back of your jersey will never be forgotten.
In a rather evolving game pattern where individual performance is fast outshining a team sport, Abia Warriors’ Chisom Chikatara stood out from the lot. His movements and his lively bursts in the final third was enough to suggest the rise of a pure gem from the Nigeria Professional Football League on the international stage.
Chikatara’s hat trick – only the second in the Africa Nations Championship – may just be the tone that posits Nigeria as favourites for the competition. Early day no doubt, but the world might just be staring at the tournament’s highest goal scorer and player of the tournament.
OLISEH AND THE NAYSAYERS
Some may argue, that the competition in Rwanda doesn’t prove how good the handler of the Super Eagles is. There may be a point in that, but not entirely true.
Every game – friendly or competitive – offers Oliseh a grand opportunity to prove his mettle and to put his football philosophy to the test. For the fans, the perception of a match day must be conclusive with a win for the Super Eagles. Foreign or domestic players, the Super Eagles is a national burden borne by every citizen whose fate is in the hands of one man.
The Africa Nations Championship offers Oliseh the break to demonstrate to the nation – and indeed the world – that his ambition to build, nurture and grow the quality of the Super Eagles requires patience and care. Although, many have their gaze fixed on the more illustrious Africa Cup of Nations qualification; it is such tournaments as CHAN that serve as the leverage for gradual progress.
While at CHAN – and without many extraneous distractions – Coach Oliseh can quietly plan the downfall of his post-CHAN opponents in the Egyptians.
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