Saturday, June 5, 2010
Group B: Nigeria
Nigera have a star-studded lineup, but may under perform this year. Unfortunately, this isn't a new thing. Nigeria has always had good players, many playing in Europe, some for the top teams, yet the team does not win much.
In the 1990's other countries feared Nigeria. They had flair, creativity, and passion. They just didn't want to win, they wanted to perform. With this desire to simply have fun, the Super Eagles went on to upset many teams, often being hailed as the African Brazil (until that title was passed onto the Ivory Coast). However, lately they have not played attractive soccer. They don't have the fun they used to, they just seem to show up and play, and play ugly, if need be.
Sure, they have amazing strikers, with enough attacking options to make the Brazilians and Spaniards cry, but their midfield does not have the creativity, and the defense does not have the passion that one normally sees in full/center backs. If Nigeria wants to win, the midfield will really have to come together and rally around each other. Tracking back to help defend will be very important while they feed some long balls for the fast paced strikers to run onto.
The two strikers: Obafemi Martins (pictured), and Yakubu, are excellent proven strikers in the European leagues. They have pace, are powerful in the air or on ground, and have the burning desire to score as many goals as they can. However, to be successful they will have to rely on Jon Obi Mikel to help anchor the back-line. Playing for Chelsea, Mikel knows a lot about defense, so he will have to impart that wisdom onto the rest of the team.
My Prediction: 3rd Place Group B