• Don’t write them off yet, says Erico
Former Super Eagles midfielder, Etim Esin, has said that the CHAN Eagles lack standing players that can turn around the phase of a game when the need arises. He spoke with The Guardian in the wake of CHAN Eagles’ 0-0 score line against Rwanda in their opening game at the on-going Africa Nations Championship in Morocco.
But former Assistant Coach of the team, Joseph Erico, has described the performance of the players against Rwanda’s Amavubi as satisfactory.Esin stated he was disappointed over the lackluster performance of the team, particularly the strikers.He noted that the players needed to raise the standard of their game in the second match against Libya tomorrow to avoid early exit from the championship.
Esin, however, called on football-loving Nigerians not to write off the CHAN Eagles yet, saying that the team still had the chance to excel in the Africa tourney, just as he challenged the players and their handlers to work hard to win their next game.
The former Super Eagles midfielder also rubbished the views of some Nigerians who said that the performance of the CHAN Eagles in their opening game on Monday was a reflection of lack of quality players in the domestic league. He reasoned that if the NFF had a standard and organised scouting department to monitor players, the Eagles’ coaches would have gotten better players that would have made a remarkable difference in Morocco.
“It is not fair to say the level of performance of the CHAN players is a reflection of the Nigerian. The players in Morocco are not the best legs in the league. The coaches are left to use the players of their choice because the NFF do not have an organised scouting department that have a pool of quality players the coaches to select from. Over the years, the league had produced players that have travelled abroad to collect shirt from big players in their clubs, ” he said.
On his part, Erico said the boys could only give what they have following a not-too-satisfactory preparation to the tournament. “The boys at least played well to the best of their knowledge. What I saw in that game was that the boys were too much in a hurry. They were not patient enough on the ball and that was why they could not convert the chances they created. Call it the Nigerian spirit: ‘hurry’ ‘hurry’.
“Everybody had conceded to Rwanda, Equatorial Guinea losing to Nigeria and Libya from the group. It is not going to be like that, probably they will do better in their next match. But frankly, the boys played well I must confessed, he said.
The former Eagles’ goalkeeper, who, said he could understand the frustration of Nigerians for the Eagles failure to win the match, said if the team had won that it would have been another song.
“But from my own angle as a coach, the team did well several incursions in the Rwanda’s goal areas though they missed chances. However, in our game against Libya, our defence has to be very careful, as they have players that are very patient with the ball.
“Then you can imagine what the Libyan players will do when they are in the 18 yards box, which can dangerous,” he said, adding that something needed to be done about the way we mark, the players shooting ability and the rest.
“In the Rwanda’s match, the boys were only good in the first 40 minutes after which they were not mobile anymore and they could hardly mark. What we do on the ball and off the ball is very important and that was the problem the boys had and not the coaches’ problems,” Erico stated.