The game between Tunisia and Nigeria was one between a team with a solitary point and the other with 3 points already after the first round of games at the CHAN tourney taking place in Rwanda. I’m thinking talks of qualifying for the next round (Nigeria) and not qualifying for the knockout phase (Tunisia) must have been part of the epistles both coaches must have preached to the disciples. But what happened on the pitch?
The Tunisians were DESPERATE but…
They did not give themselves away to the Super Eagles. The Northern Africans did their best to pretend – THE WHOLE TIME – that were under pressure. Maybe the pressure of getting booted out of the tournament. And their “acting” paid off. How? Let’s just say they played a little like Barcelona.
They kept ball-possession, their goalkeeper wasn’t, in the least, interested in kicking the ball into the midfield leading to millions of short passes in their own half (excuse my exaggerations). All this was to lure in the Eagle – the Super Eagles – into their own half. Once carried away by trying to regain possession of the ball, the Tunisian defenders made sure they made long passes to the flanks (left and right) where someone was ALWAYS present to receive the ball, heap pressure on the full-backs and cross back into the box where one man was ALWAYS on hand to hold up play and make the most of their opportunities. A. Akaïchi is his name. He made life miserable for Eze (a defender who in my opinion knows little, next to nothing about confidence in football) and deservedly got his goal – his third of the tournament – in the 2nd half of the game. A point earned for acting well. Now they have two. Job welldone Tunisians
Dear Oliseh, Chikatara OBVIOUSLY loves playing in the 2nd Half!
What more can be said about a player who can’t stop scoring more times in the second half than he does in the first? It was glaring from his DISMAL, GONE-AWOL performance in the first 45 of the game. He now has 4 goals – all scored in the second half – and is the leading goalscorer of the competition. I only hope Coach Oliseh has noticed this and will turn this boy’s strength into the TEAM’S strong point. Moving on…
The Tunisians SHOULD HAVE won the game
I mean they should have beaten their West African counterparts hands down and be the team with a leg in the knockout phase of the competition instead of Nigeria. The Tunisians enjoyed themselves while playing against a Nigerian side whose defending were porous and ‘almost’ ran awaybwith the game but the officials who should have made sure of their win made matters worse with their poor officiating – as is associated with referering in this part of the world.
When a team rattles the onion bag twice in the first 30 minutes of the game, you’d expect that they win the game. But football, according to my friend Tella, is still as naughty as used to be. At least they didn’t lose right? Middle finger(s) to poor officiating!
Instead of writing further, I’d rather make worthy mentions of the fact that players like Chikatara, who can’t stop scoring, Usman’s dynamic play and his ever-readiness to accept a pass in the mid-field – although his passes need more work, Ezenwa the goalie who has been impressive so far in the tournament should be allowed to play more for the Super Eagles, in competitions that are not all about African players based in Africa of course.
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.