“The defense of Balogun and Ekong should be reshuffled at once. Nigeria’s double defense lines since Victor Oduah, Chukwu to Keshi provide a rock of Gibraltar line wall, whereby the Libero interchanges with his No. 6, depending on the nature of the opponents’ attacking forays. The confidence including the ruggedness of that defense lineup reflects on the tightness of the wall, and gives due confidence to the entire team.”
- Daily Sun, Emma Okocha, On the Niger, Wednesday June 2018
Nigeria’s World Cup coach did not waste time after thanking me for my time and advice. He reshuffled the defense and dismissed the slow and fine player Shehu from the No. 2 position. Abandoning the four-man defense line-up against Croatia, he introduced a three-man defense formation. Embracing my tactics, he moved Balogun to the right, his original favorite wing, and pivoted Troost Ekong as the Libero, while restoring Kenneth Omeruo who as the hitman, “inter changes space with the Libero, depending on the nature and ferocity of the opponents attacking forays.’’
Against the crucial joust with the European Cinderellas from the land of the Ice, Omeruo was the Rock of Gibraltar. Resilient, at the back of the Eagles, 18 Omeruo surges, heading out dangerous balls, he makes sure that they never get wasted. Combining the quick recovery of a Stephen Keshi, the granite covering wall of a Christian Chukwu, Omeruo led Nigeria’s native defense block and restored the confidence of the Super Eagles
In fact, Nigeria’s breakthrough against Iceland came through a lethal counterattack as Omeruo headed a cross clear of the Eagle’s 18; Kelechi Ihenacho collected the ball and found Moses racing down the right flank. The ball got to an unmarked, already sprinting Musa at the centre after a Moses cross. Musa’s gymnastics controlled perfectly the ball in the air, displayed a surprised Iceland defender and without sparing another second Musa smashed home with the same hanging trapping right foot. The World Cup would never see a more beautiful goal.
Whatever happens, Nigeria’s fate will be decided by the late antics of the Argentina soccer god, Lionel Messi, and the ability of our defense to hold on. If they stop him that would be the end of the glorious chapters of one of the greatest players that ever laced the boots to play the Jiso game.
What the people say….
Emma, I have just read your piece on CR7 and the magician Ogbueze. Your analysis on our Super Eagles was 100% correct. But my anger with you and other analysts is that none of you said all these during the buildup. It was all praise that is our stuff in Nigeria. Cheers.
- Femi Awoseyi, ex-Super Stores Goal-keeper, Lagos
On Buhari’s code of war conduct…
Bold and courageous reportage … God will continue to bless you for always telling the truth about the happenings of that unfortunate and sad history of the nation. The sufferings and travails of the lgbo before, during and after the war persist, while their detractors continue to fly the deceitful slogan of the oneness of Nigeria. Thanks.
- Eziafa Osakwe
Good day Emma. Where are the books? Rangers. History of a People, Blood On The Niger, I am salivating, reading on Godwin Ogbueze in your column of yesterday.
- Gab Agu Enugu Sports Club
My dear Bro Okocha, thank you so much for writing out the feelings of millions of Igbos who, like me, are really confused about the unity of Nigeria. The North won the civil war and oil wealth is in their hands. The whole atrocities was for the Southern oil, now they got it where is the peace? Unless Nigeria goes back to the four regions, the nation can never be focused as state governments of the military fiat have become nepoc Institutions, waiting to collect their share of the national cake coming from Abuja. Where the major developments come from to employ livid young graduates on our streets? Only God knows, and our people, the Igbos, except you, are tired of speaking out. Thank you on Gowon’s actions he was fighting to defeat us. Remain blessed for remembering those days of our tears.
- Chief Edy Ac. Okenwa.
My reaction to your piece: The federal troops were neither ethnical nor humane in their conduct of the Biafran war. President Buhari knows that, and certainly the International Red Cross have the proof. The President seems to have a confused mindset about Biafra and Ndigbo, which is not helping his public image.
- Ada, Surulere, Lagos
Great Emma Okocha your column on Buhari’s comment on civil war brought out eloquently the sadism, callousness and insensitivity in a President I used to admire. His remark on a blood thirsty Army that dehumanized Biafrans left the President hollow. Gowon bombed markets, churches, shot down relief planes, created total blockade, raped women. His army jettisoned rules of engagements. I speak as an eye witness. He either has no sense of history or he is a liar, or age is telling on his cerebrum.
- Barrister Ikedi Chukwu, Aba
Thank you for being on the side of truth. Your article, General Gowon’s war albatross, was timely. Two of my uncles went to war, one was buried alive at Awka sector. The other was butchered and cooked at Opi sector, Nsukka. Many people from my town, Enugwu-Ukwu, were killed.
- Mr. James Ekpeh Ojo-Alaba, Lagos