Ethiopia were largely impressive in the first leg in Addis Ababa. Despite being a side comprised of largely Ethiopian league homebodies, their football, as has become the norm, was some of the easiest on the eye. (You could make an argument that it’s as good as Tanzania’s, but that’s another topic for another day.) As expected, with the aid of Addis Ababa’s high altitude no doubt, their hakuna-matata football had the bulky Nigerians chasing shadows for much of the game and had many uninitiated to their pleasures falling in love at first sight. Commendably, the Walya Antelopes went into half time with 60% of the possession.
Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Keshi’
Tags: Asrat Megersa, Emmanuel Emenike, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Stephen Keshi, Victor Obinna
Tags: Aristide Bance, Burkina Faso, Emmanuel Emenike, Godfrey Oboabona, Jonathan Pitroipa, Kenneith Omeruo, Paul Put, Prejuce Nakoulma, Stephen Keshi
“I am a battler, a striker who always gives 100 per cent, and puts in energy to defending as well as going forward,” thus said Aristide Bance after the apogee of his career; a scintillating all-round centre-forward performance against Ghana in Wednesday’s semi-final. In many ways, Bance’s self-assessment contains all the words that can be attributed to this valorous Burkina Faso side.
Attribute 1: Battle. Football is like a war, there are no winners, just survivors. In stand-in captain Charles Kabore, who has assumed captaincy after the demotion of Moumouni Dagano to the bench, Florent Rouamba and Djakaridja Kone they have had trusted, fearsome foot soldiers who have offered the hybrid of destruction and control. Despite missing the first game due to suspension, Kabore has completed 157 passes in opposition territory – more than any other player in the competition.
Attribute 2: Defending. Burkina Faso, with only one win in their 5 games over the course of 90 minutes, haven’t delivered the seat-squirming performances for future opponents, but they have got this far simply by being hard to beat – akin to Paraguay side that reached the 2011 Copa America final with five consecutive draws. Burkina Faso haven’t conceded in 453 minutes from open play, since Emmanuel Emenike’s goal in the 57th minute of the opening game. Overall, the only goal they’ve conceded since that opening game came via a harshly-awarded penalty in the semi-final that was converted by Mubarak Wakaso.
Tags: John Obi Mikel, Nigeria, Nosa Igiebor, Stephen Keshi
After disappointing third place finishes in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2010 and reaching a nadir when failing to reach the 2012 edition, Nigeria return to the Cup of Nations with a mix of quiet optimism and a dilution of self-entitlement. Coach Steve Keshi, a stalwart in their late 80s/early 90s heyday when they played with an irresistible fusion of brain and brawn, has reverted back to the foundations that saw the original ‘Green Eagles’ sobriquet give way to the ‘Super Eagles’ when they started decimating all-comers.
It’s nearly 20 years since Nigeria won the Cup of Nations. But after their consistent failures in the Cup of Nations and underwhelming performances in the World Cup, there has been a swift transformation in mantra. Indeed, Keshi is not doing what his predecessors have done: he is not relying entirely on household-name foreign-based players to win him games. Instead, he has constructed a squad which has a noticeable presence from the domestic league – six players – and then added a smattering of in-form foreign-based players, favouring a young generation with near unblemished footprints of Nigeria’s consistent failures.
His slight focus on domestic-based players begs the, albeit minor, question: is the standard of players plucked from the Nigerian league of adequate enough quality to meet the grandiose expectations of its fans? Put simply, no. The likes of Tunisia, Egypt and Zambia have, of course, provided the antidote to the Cameroon teams that triumphed in 2000 and 2002 with entirely European-based squads. But Tunisia had well-rounded teams which regularly challenged in latter stages of African continental competitions; Egypt plucked the majority of their team from the all-conquering Al Ahly team of the 2000s and a very good Zamalek side; and Zambia had a core of individuals from TP Mazembe and a very well-run and strong South African league.
Tags: Ahmed Faras, Benni McCarthy, Japhet N'Doram, Lucas Radebe, Mohamed Timoumi, Salah Assad, Segun Odegbami, Stephen Keshi, Wael Gomaa, Yakubu Aiyegbeni
50. Segun OdegbamiCareer Span: Unavailable-1984 Nationality: Nigerian International Caps: 46 (23 goals) Position: Right-Winger
Nicknamed ‘Mathematical’ for the precision of his traits – the economic use of his pace and the methodological accuracy of his goals as well as his pinpoint crosses. Boasting a degree in Engineering, in many ways, Segun Odegbami engineered the rise of Nigerian football on the international scene.
Initially, he played a key role when Shooting Stars became the first Nigerian side to win a title on the continental stage – the 1976 African Cup Winners Cup. In 1978, Nigeria would qualify for the Cup of Nations and Odegbami would score three goals as Nigeria finished third.