Ghana/Nigeria W/C Play-Off: Tension Mounts

By By Victor Enyinnaya on 21/03/2022

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No doubt the build up for the upcoming World Cup 2022 pay-off between Nigeria and Ghana is getting the much anticipated attention, rave, tension and has readily taken very sizeable media space as the date for the crucial football tug of war game first leg gets set in Kumasi Ghana draws near, bookmakers are leaving nothing to chance to get fuller attraction and gains from the rare football showpiece.

Without much ado, the heat is already mounting on both countries as the searchlight continues to beam on their preparations no matter the hide and seek sort of being played by Ghana technical crew initially. Looks like the hen is home to roost. There is no hiding place for the white hen as the D-day draws eminently.

The technical crews of both countries teams are already at intensive work while the mind game would continue to be there until the kick-off.  Such has been the tradition of the past encounters involving these arch arrival countries.

Head or tail, the meeting won’t be tea party at all. Times have changed on both divides however the side that gets it right from the signal of the referee for kick-offs would not be under any undue / due pressure as the game progresses.

One must acknowledge that the Nigeria Football Federation has done better than it has in the past concerning matches like the upcoming double header game.

For once, the apex football governing body in the country has for once thought outside the box. It has graphically followed the trends and also proactive on her dealings. One must thumb up the body for being alive to her responsibilities this time. To be honest with you, the way and manner it has been going about driving her point (s) home to FIFA like the bad surface of Cape Coast Stadium that was to host the crucial first leg match in Ghana and how the venue was promptly changed to Kumasi leaves one with sense of now a listening FIFA.

It is also instructive to note how the NFF team led by Aisha Falode went to inspect the new venue in Kumasi last week. These steps so far showed the NFF is truly leading from the front. Exactly how it ought to be.

These positive efforts points to the kind of importance Nigeria attached to the upcoming world Cup 2022 play-off and pointedly, such efforts have given birth or led credence to the fact that we are making steady progress and sundry. A typical case of learning something and forgetting nothing.

To this columnist, preparations’ are earnestly on top gear for this make or mar double header clash. I am not losing the sight that as the NFF is doing all these to easy things for the Super Eagles, in return the Austin Eguaveon technical crew are also working round the clock to ensure a five star performance knowing fully well that the past duals between Nigeria and Ghana have never been child’s play even if it is involving kindergartens children.

The tide is always high as tension is already amounting daily on the impending now or never football cracker. My take has always been that as Nigeria is aiming high and pointing at victory in the first leg as the only way to go, so also the Ghanaians insisting at their home ground. It won’t be an easy nut for any country to crack.

Though, critical observers on both courtiers steady or otherwise growth of the game at that senior level have give Nigeria some edge over Ghana but I believe that how best each technical bench approach the game would matter most at the end of the day.

The way out would be for Nigerian Eagles to redouble their efforts and focus solely on this make or break game that held much for Nigeria. Nigerians believe that the players right from safe gloves,S Maduka Okoye to the eleventh first team player are quite aware the kind of importance, sentiment, life dependant Nigerians  attach to this next week all importance game against Ghana in Kumasi.  

One hopes that the traditional Super Eagles spirit of never say die will be on display in their minds. Yes, it will be a high tension soaked march where only the fittest would survive and so, Nigerians believe that that fittest would be their darling team, the Super Eagles outfit. Ghana Black Stars team is no lesser a squad. Ghana like two edged sword can be dangerous on their typical day. They can also be too difficult to behold when the chips are down. This Black Stars like cat with nine lives can be slippery and delicate to opponents no matter their standing.

It is one of the teams in the continent that can never be afraid of any opponent no matter their current rating believing vehemently that football scores are settled practically on the pitch not theory or otherwise.

One is saying that Super Eagles are having a lot in their hands and won’t find in short supply lots to chew from the fire works of the Ghanaians who are hell bent in posting sterling result in the first leg to ensure the second leg in Abuja would be mere formality for them.

One must note therefore that the onions lies on Nigeria team and their coaches to brace up decisively and face this daunting challenge squarely right from this first leg where l believe the battle would won and lost. Super Eagles players must play as if this first leg game and return leg are their last game on earth. There will definitely be strong and tactical resistant from the Black Stars and Eguaveon and his wards must not pretend about such situation. Super Eagles team and players are above being intimidated by tricks by their opponent key point is to keep their heads cool in the face of such circumstances and play it down drastically all in the bid to achieve the set goal. Play under less tension and pressure so as to get it right.

Therefore,, the strategies to deploy by Eguaveon and Amuneke must be tighter and total. The approach must be very systematic and flexible for the players to easily master inside out.  No idea on how to win the game must be in short supply. FIFA and CAF have shown the importance of this game hence they effected some changes in match officials as they anticipate that there won’t be any dull moments in the double header game involving two giant football West African neighbours and by extension, some of the pride of African football too.

Critical observers’ have noted so far that imagine or imaginary pitfall (s) on the match may have informed recent FIFA’s adjustments. That is the way to go.  It may have brought some confidence to both countries of the impartiality of the World football governing body with CAF ably assisting closely.

It will be one game that points like if it will be won from the bench meaning that aside the instruction (s) to the players on kick-off of the game, also the quick silver like thinking from each bench would play greater crucial and critical roles as the game of wits and brawns looms.

One must say that as it looks Nigeria’s preparations towards how best to prosecute this match in Kumasi, Ghana seems solid and focused too on paper. Again, going by the quality of players invited for the game gives fan some glimmer of hope that the coast is getting clearer by the day on the way and manner Nigeria wants to go for it.

One must though note the cursed injury which knocked off Wilfred Ndidi from being on parade for Nigeria in time like this against arch rival, Ghana in this nitty-gritty football show down in Kumasi and Abuja. However the report that said a potent replacement for him also gladdens the hearts of fans, pundit and bookmakers who are eager to see crack teams lock horns to the delight of all.

Ghana and Nigeria have made us the unsuspecting public to understand or believe that no stone is being left unturned by the NFF and even GFA to give the game the kind of tough billing fans knew Nigeria/ Ghana encounters. As the date draws near and time ticks away the technical crew of both teams are marshalling out strategies upon strategies that will outwit one another on display during that football game that will be filled to the brim lots of suspense, thrills, frills, drills including tricks all geared towards getting upper hand in the first leg. They (teams) will try all within and outside up their sleeves on the pitch for the fans to cheers goals whether fluke or textbook so far the referee points to the centre.

We on this digital platform (www.dailysportng.com) will never relent on our traditional role to you dear loyal readers to bring on fresh, exclusive and sundry updated reports in our daily reportage. Stay with the best and the reliable as we keep our fingers crossed. Keep shooting hard, till next week as the struggle continues!!

 

 

Source Daily Sports Nigeria

Posted on March, 21 2022

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