Saturday, 5 January 2013

Beyond Cataluña…

While there was really not much at stake, the Cataluña friendly offered yet another opportunity for Coach Keshi to assess his choice of Super Eagles prospective players for the Nations cup in South Africa.
In a somewhat boring performance, punctuated by erratic players’ names on the screen, some players all but booked their places in the 23-man squad while others practically walked themselves the exit door.

Goalkeeper and captain for the day, Chigozie Agbim was largely untested, but did quite well the few times he was. A much younger Kenneth Omeruo exuded confidence and know-how that surpassed that of older Azubuike Agwueke and Godfrey Oboabona combined – exemplifying a clear distinction between the experienced home-based and a budding foreign-based player.

Fengor Ogude's error caused the first goal, but for the remaining hour or so he was on the pitch, he was huge in defensive midfield. Unfortunately, he does notlook like one for the future.
Onazi Ogenyi was once again at his workaholic best, creating and destroying for team and opponent respectively.
Bright Dike again made an even stronger case for future engagements by scoring a very beautiful goal on his second cap in a game where chances were few and far between.

Conversely, Ejike Uzoenyi may have very well signed and involuntary retirement from the team, following up his poor Venezuela performance with another tragic outing. Solomon Kwambe, for all the plaudits he got against Venezuela (not from me though) was totally out of sorts in right back. Benjamin Francis was worse on the left.

Overall, Keshi and his home-based crew appear to have been vindicated – after a customary but historic draw against a Catalan side comprising World and European Champions like Carlos Puyol, Gerard Pique, Xavi Hernandez and Sergio Busquets amongst others.
A note of warning however; the African Nations Cup is an entirely different Cup (of tea); nothing in the semblance of a pedestrian friendly against world class players whose only bother was how to avoid injuries...

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