No, this CHAN game wasn’t the most exciting football game in recent times. The seven-goal thriller at the Anfield Stadium last weekend was a far cry from the game between Nigeria and Rwanda, both in the quality of players, the pitch, the number of spectators, jerseys… I could go on and on.
But I’m reminded that this is an African Nations Championship (CHAN). And for all its worth, Morocco has done a good job with the facilities I’ve seen so far. I was especially surprised by the opening game of the tournament, its score line and the young and handsome Moroccan Prince.
No homo, Your Highness.
By now, you’ve probably heard all about the game, the score line and how events played out in the fixture.
If you haven’t and you’re wondering about Nigeria’s first game in the competition and how the boys fared in the game, the first thing you should know is that the game ended in a 0-0 draw.
The local-based Super Eagles side did well enough to produce a display that didn’t bore me to sleep.
The likes of Sunday Faleye kept me interested in the game. His speed, how he moved the ball around and created space for himself had me wondering what would happen to the lad after the tourney. A quick question though: Anyone know which club the kid plays for now? I mean, after all that drama, which club has got the kid on their payroll now?
The movement of the likes of Osas and Eze was beautiful to watch and Rabiu Ali’s positioning per time was just great.
The Rwandans, although not as awesome as the Super Eagles, – this was glaring for all to see – stepped up to the plate and made sure it was an interesting game.
Did I say the Rwandans? I meant to say the Rwandans and the goal post combined together to ensure that the game was an interesting one.
Nigeria Need to Improve Their Finishing
The CHAN Eagles dropped off quite badly in the second half. Hit the woodwork thrice, but once from set-piece and another from a set play—hardly carved Rwanda open for fun.
Two shots on target, from over 20 attempted; most damning stat. #CHAN2018
— Solace Chukwu (@TheOddSolace) January 15, 2018
That’s the number of times that the CHAN Eagles struck the woodwork in their encounter against the Rwandans. And I’ve not even mentioned all the other goal scoring chances that went begging in the game. That’s how well they played in the game.
But of what use are these chances if they aren’t converted? We could go on all day talking about chances but it is goals that win you games. No goals, no wins. No wins, most likely early exits from tournaments. Early exits, no trophies. That’s how competitions like this one work.
I really hope the coach Salisu Yusuf took note of all these and will try as much to help the boys sharpen their goal scoring skills. And hopefully, Okpotu will get involved more and create a presence in the 18-yard/6-yard box of opposition teams.
Two Points Dropped
After failing to convert those golden opportunities, it’s only befitting to describe this game as one where the CHAN Eagles dropped two points. Whether or not those points can be described as vital can only be confirmed at the end of the group stages of CHAN 2018.
I hope we're not in the same group with these Libyans? #CHAN2018
— Rotimi Daramola (@Papi_theGreat) January 16, 2018
Not to scare anyone though, I saw the game between the Libyans and Equatorial Guinea. Judging by the lightning speed with which those Libyans quickly put their opponents to bed, this draw may just prove to be very, very costly.
But what do I know? I’m just a football analyst who likes to write a lot and talk a lot about the beautiful game of football. Football is football and anything can happen. Like Rwanda’s golden opportunity in the 89th minute of the game and how they could have snatched the game from right under the noses of the Eagles.
I was going to mention how these players have made the NPFL look really good with their performance in their first CHAN game. But I’ve decided to hold my peace (and my piss too) till I see the boys in green go against the Libyans.
I’m looking forward to the second game of the CHAN Eagles. Yes, it’s against Libya and it will take place on Friday. I’m anxious to see how the defense will cope with the fast Libyans. I’m looking forward to more of Sunday Faleye’s tricks, Osas bombing forward and, if he doesn’t mind, some Rabiu Ali shots – the ones on goal o, h’uncu.
Did you see the game? What do you think? Do think we have what it takes to go all the way to the finals? For those who missed the game, what do you think about the team after reading this article? Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts.
Author: Rotimi “Papi the Great” Daramola
Rotimi Daramola aka Papi the Great is the owner of ForTheGoal.
A freelance sports writer who focuses on football, Rotimi is also a freelance writer, a copywriter and a football analyst who regularly appears on radio and television to talk football. You can follow him on twitter @papi_thegreat to keep up with his writings, engage him and also find out about how you can secure his writing services.