The match between Nigeria and Iran ended 0-0.
Nigerian football enthusiasts have expressed mixed reactions over the performance of the Super Eagles in their first match with Iran at the ongoing 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
In separate interviews, some of the respondents said that the Super Eagles played well even though the match ended in a barren draw; while others said they lacked the technical competence and underrated the Iranians.
The Assistant Captain, Gombe United FC, Yusuf Alhassan, advised that the Nigerian team should start with two players attacking rather than one to have an easy score in their next match.
Olayinka Abraham, a physical fitness coach, urged the Eagles to put in a lot of effort to score goals as well as sustain pressure on their opponents and ensure concentration throughout the game.
“They should play 90-minute game and even if it takes them to 120 minutes, they should concentrate,” he said.
Helen Viola-Simon also observed that the match was good but that the Eagles underrated the Iranians.
Ms. Viola-Simon advised the players not to be demoralised, adding: “we need to win in the next match.”
Karuwa Mopgung, however, said he was disappointed with the performance as other teams in the group were stronger than Iran.
In Okitipupa, Ondo State, some football fans berated the Super Eagles’ goalless draw against their Iranian counterparts.
They said that the Eagles were supposed to have won the match without stress, if they had been coordinated.
They called on the team to exhibit more dedication and concentration while Coach Stephen Keshi should work more on their scoring chances in subsequent matches.
Damola Olasanmi, a radio football analyst in Ondo, said the Eagles wasted the chances that should have been converted to goals.
“Iran should not have been a problem to us but for the lack of agreement in the midfield and attacking line,” Mr. Olasanmi said.
According to Oluwatoyin Olafusi, a radio sports analyst, the Eagles were not technically sound in their match against Iran adding they needed to be more dedicated in their subsequent matches.
“Keshi needs to work more on the Eagles’ technical abilities; they also need lots of dedication and concentration, if Nigeria wants to go far in the mundial,” Ms. Olafusi said.
For Godwin Isaac, a football enthusiast, the match against Iran was not a bad one as the Eagles dominated the field.
He, however, criticised their inability to score goals.
“What the Eagles need now is to improve more on their scoring abilities because that is what will give us points and make us move forward in the World Cup,” Mr. Isaac said.
Bidemi Awolesi called for an improved Eagles in their next match because Nigerians expectations were very high.
Soccer fans In Osogbo also called on the Super Eagles to work on the attack line in order to record goals.
Tosin Folayan, a banker, reminded the Eagles that the ultimate aim of any football match was a favourable score line.
Mr. Folayan, who commended the Nigerian side for taking charge of the game, added that Nigerians would have been happier, if the opportunities had been converted to goals.
He advised the technical crew to inject life into the forward line with a view to keeping the team long enough in the tournament.
In his own analysis, Olatunde Oladeji, an accountant, said the Eagles played a possessive game instead of “rattling” the Iranians defence line.
“It is good enough that the Super Eagles dictated the pace of the match; it would have been better if they had been able to find the net.
“From the start of the game, I was even confused in identifying the style of play as the Eagles were playing at an unusual fast tempo.
“I want to suggest that the style of play be adjusted to that of a team that is hungry for goals. It is about goals, it goes beyond entertainment,” Mr. Oladeji said.
“There is still hope for Nigeria to survive the group stage, if the Stephen Keshi-led crew reviews its style of play.
“They have to be psyched to go for goals’’, another analyst said.
In Birnin Kebbi, Ladan Usman, the Kebbi State Director of Sports, said that the Super Eagles did not play like “true fighters”.
He further observed that they could not convert the many chances they created into goals due to poor finishing.
He also faulted Coach Keshi’s selection, saying that he did not field the best squad.
He observed that the team played without focus, especially as they failed to score any goal after creating good chances.
Muhammed Isa, another football enthusiast, said that the team played but were unlucky in getting the goals.
“We expect a better performance and an outright win in the matches against Bosnia and Argentina,” he said.
Another respondent, Musa Ali, urged football fans to give the team the needed support and seek divine intervention to enable them to excel.
The Eagles will play their second match of the mundial on Saturday against Bosnia-Herzegovina.
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