World Cup: Why Nigeria could not defeat Iran – Keshi

Stephen Okechukwu Keshi
Stephen Keshi

We played very well in the first half but lost our shape in the second half.”

The Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi, has blamed a lack of inspiration for his team’s goalless draw with Iran in their first match at the on-going FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Keshi told FIFA.COM that his boys dominated the first half of the match but lost inspiration in the second half.

“We played very well in the first half. The forwards were very active and they had a couple of chances to score, though we couldn’t put them away. We lost our shape in the second half,” he said. “I felt we could have won the game but we were lacking a bit of inspiration on the pitch.”

Keshi’s statement that the Eagles played better in the first half may cause some observers to question the coach’s substitutions in the second half.

Already, former Eagles captain, Austin Okocha, faulted the coach’s tactics and substitutions during the match.

“He was not patient and I expected that he’ll leave his creative players on the pitch to create chances for the team but that was not to be,” Okocha, who was an analyst on Supersports, said.

“In as much as I want to be positive regarding the Eagles this result doesn’t give me anything to think about because we were poor.

“Keshi didn’t do enough with this team because he was not patient and I hold him for this. You could see that the introduction of Osaze Odemwingie brought sparkle into the team but it was not just enough,” he added.

Apart from criticising his team’s second half performance, Keshi also commended the Iranians for having a good game on the night.

“All credit to Iran,” he said. “They stuck to their game plan and were able to put it into practice from start to finish.”

The Nigerian Super Eagles have now gone nine FIFA World Cup games without a single win, with their last victory coming in France 98.

The Eagles now have a herculean task to qualify from Group F as they face Bosnia on Saturday in their next match before a final group game against one of the tournament favourites, Argentina.


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  • Wähala

    For Keshi coming from a country happy with mediocracy, of course it was a good result. He probably doesn’t know that FIFA has rated the game the worst in the tournament so far. The problem with Nigerian football is too many barber shop coahes from the sides, Keshi should have been allowed to continue building the Nation’s Cup winning Eagles instead of introducing spent bench warmers due to sectarian sentiments. Henry Nwosu said Mikel plays “negative football” and it showed. As their playmaker, there was little from him. The Iranians’ mindset in the game was evident from the beginning, they wanted a point and were happy they shut down our midfield so, Keshi should’ve read that and gone “traditional” by playing from the wings via Oshinuwa and Ambrose. Shaa, the Argentina – Bosnia game wasn’t all that glamourous either, I still believe the Eagles can beat either of them if they step up their pace with One Touch football, they dribble too much resulting in silly mistakes other teams might exploit if not quickly corrected.

    • Conf

      Your last two sentences make you one of the ‘too many barber shop coaches from the sides’.

      • Wähala

        For your info, I called it 0 – 0 before the match after watching our last outing against the US and reading the Iranians’ record in their last 11 games… I’m not allowed to bet in my own sports center otherwise, I would’ve made a killing. Eagles were bad, but so were Bosnia and Argentina… that will be the first group to ship out regardless who progresses to the 2nd. round… shikena!

        • redeem

          HAVE U EVER PLAYED FOOTBALL IN YR LIFE

    • Mosaku 147

      I apologize to NFF for been amongst those who protested when they wanted to sack keshi earlier this year. Maybe this was why Togo and Mali sacked him after he qualified them for the World Cup. He lacks the mentality it takes to operate at this stage.

      • Tonnero

        But that is the problem with us Nigerians. We insist on having our way even in areas we know nothing about.

    • redeem

      This was the same yeye @ wahala who said the national team as presently constituted, represents the biafran-flag-now twist and turn his regional head like a sniffer dog in search of drug addicts-in the dark-

  • Wale

    This is what I posted on another website and I think it is a good point with this story as well.

    Yeah right; It was like boys vs men, you guys were very lucky in the sense that the Iranians were unable to score a goal, then you would have experience what a concrete defense looked like. parking a bus “ain’t nothing”.
    you guys looked so small in physic; need more muscle to match today’s world class athletes, The Nigerians were on the ground on a slight pinky finger touch.
    In world cup competitions, you engage in fancy or finesse football only you are ahead by at least four goals.

  • Onyeamaike.

    Too much defense little offense. Too many choir boys on the team. Eagles need some crazy guys that can play offense and score. Choir boys only play dee because they are disciplined.

  • Wähala

    “Nigeria, na only una waka come? Wot about d Gols, eh? Gols to tell us you train 4 dis tonament? Do you come wit any? Abi you were not informed to make gols? Ok, continue playing like fowls… now, FIFA is calling you to come dat they will help you find the missing gols, will you keep quiet? Chai, chai, diariz gol oh, diariz gol… hmm! Diariz gols in every game dat you’re playing, diariz gols oh! Dis gols dat odas are sharing in Brazil will ansa… Diariz gol oh, diariz gol. Chai!”
    – credit, @Khadijah D. (edited by @Wähala, without permission!)
    – dedicated to: #BringBackOurGirls!

    • Kitunde UK

      lol…..@Wahala you crack me up.

    • nija pikin

      Wahala if anything happens to me I told my family to hold you responsible dis laugh we you dey make me laugh is too mush woo drais gold woo

    • Gbofia Lunar

      LWKMD… This one na classic sha, I beg you relate to mama Pepe…???

    • Patriotic Dom

      Big clown… Old man that has refused to recognize his age..

      • Tonnero

        Sour grapes. When did age say you cannot laugh?

      • Wähala

        It was a joke meant to rekindle our attention to the missing Chibok girls by Hajjia Khadijah, not for Aborigine sadists like you. Biko, concentrate on your ogogoro… Drunkard!!

      • lanre

        U dat call someone clown what are u

    • Okey

      BH

      • Tonnero

        GU

    • redeem

      This was the same yeye @ wahala who said the national team as presently constituted, represents the biafran-flag-now twist and turn his regional head like a sniffer dog in search of drug addicts-in the dark

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  • Mosaku 147

    All blames should go to keshi. Emenike was too heavy.Mikel was not playing with his heart.Moses was busy dribbling himself.Azeez was playing as if the game was principal cup.Musa was been over skillful.Lazio of Italy man was lazy.
    This eagles are the worst set since 1994. I wonder why keshi did not start Osaze. They were lucky the Iranians did not come to win.

  • Mani_Kay

    Sure ….. I am reading a page from Stephen Mediocre Keshi !!!

    • Dorothy

      He took after our president… The original mediocre himself.

  • Tonnero

    Nigerians are funny people. When we win, we forget how badly we played. When we lose, we ignore any of the good things we did. Most of you blaming Keshi here would have committed murder if Keshi were removed by the NFF after the Nations Cup. Yet, it was and has always been glaring that Keshi needs to take some extra lessons in coaching school. The Nations Cup team wobbled and fumbled ” (apologies to Joe Erico) and only took off in the game against Cote d’Ivoire. They promptly went to sleep again after the Cote d’Ivoire game. His friendly and even competitive matches after the Nations Cup were always cliff-hangers even against minor teams in our own backyard in Calabar.

    I love Keshi from his playing days. His path breaking move to Cote d’Ivoire and then Belgium and France as player and his leadership of the Super Eagles. But in coaching o, the man needs a lot of work. His team selection leaves a lot to be desired. His match reading and mastery of the tactics of the game are suspect. And his ability to work with the team, manage “difficult” players and motivate them to exceed even their own wildest expectations is nil. These are the requirements for great coaches. Imagine Osaze that we all had to beg him to call turning out to be the only player to impress even after being called in late in the game. Imagine Ike Uche that he still refuses to call despite our begging. Andre Pirlo who ruined England is 36 but Keshi and us would ignore our experienced players even when they may be doing better than the ones we called!

    Fact is, Nigerian coaches are not there yet. Nothing wrong in aspiring to have a Nigerian coach lead the national team but we must not compromise quality. We have to have structured training for them and put them through the test to ensure they are ready before we hand the national team to them. I tell you, when you win the world cup, no one cares whether the coach is an indigenous one or not. Now we just have to hope for the best even though I am not too sure of that. What is the point of squeaking through the first round only to get humiliated in the second round?

  • Tonnero

    Nigerians are funny people. When we win, we forget how badly we played. When we lose, we ignore any of the good things we did. Most of you blaming Keshi here would have committed murder if Keshi were removed by the NFF after the Nations Cup. Yet, it was and has always been glaring that Keshi needs to take some extra lessons in coaching school. The Nations Cup team wobbled and fumbled ” (apologies to Joe Erico) and only took off in the game against Cote d’Ivoire. They promptly went to sleep again after the Cote d’Ivoire game. His friendly and even competitive matches after the Nations Cup were always cliff-hangers even against minor teams in our own backyard in Calabar.

    I love Keshi from his playing days. His path breaking move to Cote d’Ivoire and then Belgium and France as player and his leadership of the Super Eagles. But in coaching o, the man needs a lot of work. His team selection leaves a lot to be desired. His match reading and mastery of the tactics of the game are suspect. And his ability to work with the team, manage “difficult” players and motivate them to exceed even their own wildest expectations is nil. These are the requirements for great coaches. Imagine Osaze that we all had to beg him to call turning out to be the only player to impress even after being called in late in the game. Imagine Ike Uche that he still refuses to call despite our begging. Andre Pirlo who ruined England is 36 but Keshi and us would ignore our experienced players even when they may be doing better than the ones we called!

    Fact is, Nigerian coaches are not there yet. Nothing wrong in aspiring to have a Nigerian coach lead the national team but we must not compromise quality. We have to have structured training for them and put them through the test to ensure they are ready before we hand the national team to them. I tell you, when you win the world cup, no one cares whether the coach is an indigenous one or not. Now we just have to hope for the best even though I am not too sure of that. What is the point of squeaking through the first round only to get humiliated in the second round?

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  • Comfortkay

    The whole soccer world was waiting for African Champion to win their first match with nobody Iran but Alas Nigerian Green Eagles were just too Green to play real soccer, if we play the next match this way we can forget all about the world cup, the Germany called the Nigerian Performances SHANDE.

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  • bukertee

    Is a pity that we are the first country to draw

  • Dorothy

    Here him…“All credit to Iran,” he said. “They stuck to their game plan and were able to put it into practice from start to finish.” So, you knew their game plan so well that you could not respond with a counter strategy… clueless man.

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  • Allergic to retrogression

    “Situation at home (insecurity, Chibok, BH) affecting eagles psyche”, remember this story? Even before the matches started, we were looking for excuses forgetting the Zambia experience after their historic and tragic plane clash. They were runner-up in the nations cup after that horrible experience. This world cup is something else not business as usual, big names, underdogs, favourites etc. does not matter at all. If Spain will be grouped out, who else will take things for granted.