Posted: Oct 05, 2011
I HAVE obtained exclusive details of the strategy that Guinea coach Michel Dussuyer wants to adopt this weekend in Abuja in order to beat Nigeria to the sole automatic qualifying ticket from our group for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
For obvious reasons, I will not reveal how I got the document. But I am publishing it in SOCCERTALK today so that Super Eagles coach Samson Siasia and his players will know what they will come up against on Saturday. The highly classified document is titled “LOSE THE GAME, WIN THE TICKET: ABUJA STRATEGY FOR SYLI STARS. By Michel Dussuyer
Where We Are (Syli Nationale)
We are on top of the group table with 13 points, three points ahead of Nigeria on 10. We have also scored more goals with 11 against 10 by Nigeria.
We have conceded three goals, same as Nigeria. So we have a better goals difference of +8 while Nigeria has +7. We are ahead of Nigeria in three categories and equal to them in one. We are in a better position going into the final group match in Abuja.
Where We Want To Be
We want to remain on top of the group even AFTER the match in Abuja. All is possible for us because we can win, draw or lose and still be on top of the group. That is a good position for us. Psychologically, that is a strong position. It’s better if we win. That will be difficult but it is not impossible. If we get the chance, we will take it. It is not too difficult to get a draw, so we will try for a draw. To lose is our easiest option, but if even we lose, it’s no problem, provided we don’t lose by many goals. So, all is possible for us to remain on top of the table at the end of the match in Abuja. That is where we want to be.
How We Will Do It
We will stop Nigeria from scoring many goals, so we start with 4-5-1 formation. We start defending from their half of the field and then we crowd them in midfield with five men. We keep the ball in midfield and make them look for it. When we lose the ball, we close them down quickly, we don’t give them space.
Nigeria is not too good passing the ball in midfield, so we outplay them there. But they are very strong in the tackle so we must be ready to fight for the ball. Nigeria is very fast in attack but they lose many chances. It’s OK if they score one goal in the first half, but they must not score two goals. We must avoid the second goal and that is very easy to do because they will relax after their first goal. The pressure on us will reduce, so we can take one goal to the locker room. 1-0 against us at half-time is OK.
In the second half, we must maintain the score line up to 70 minutes. But if Nigeria score a second goal before that time, it’s still OK, no problem. With two goals, they will relax more, they will become complacent. I have watched many tapes of Nigeria’s games. They lose concentration towards the end of the game especially when they are leading. They think the game is already finished. So, on 70 minutes, we will introduce two fresh strikers. The Nigerian defence will be tired after 70 minutes and they will not be concentrating fully. Our two new strikers will change our formation to 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 and we will attack them for the last 20 minutes. We will attack and attack and score one goal. ONE GOAL IS ENOUGH FOR US TO QUALIFY.
If we draw 1-1 or lose 2-1, its OK for us to qualify. And if Nigeria is careless again, we beat them 2-1 or draw 2-2. All is possible for us to qualify. No problem. No problem at all.
What We Must Avoid
We must not concede three goals. We must stop Nigeria from scoring three goals. They score one goal, OK, we can equalise to draw 1-1 in the second half. They score two goals, OK, we can score one goal to lose 2-1 and still qualify. But if they score three goals, it will become difficult for us to score two goals to qualify. So, we must avoid a third goal from Nigeria.
What We Must Do
We must score one goal. One goal is very important for us because Nigeria will score in this match. If they score and we don’t score, they beat us 1-0 or 2-0 and they qualify. But if we get one goal, we draw 1-1 or lose 2-1 and we qualify. So, we must score one goal. The chance will come for at least one goal in 90 minutes. When the chance comes, we must take it.
If we score that one goal, Nigeria must score two more to beat us 3-1. If we score two, they must score four. They will come under serious pressure to score two more goals than us and they will start making mistakes. It will become difficult for them.
Game Plan Summary For Syli Nationale
We must not concede many goals in the first half. One goal is OK.
We must not concede more than two goals in 90 minutes.
We must score at least one goal in 90 minutes. That is enough for us to qualify for the African Cup in 2012. It is possible. We have a good chance!
Message To Samson Siasia
The fore-going is the mind-set of your rival on Saturday. Now that you know the way his mind is working, it should be easier for you to counter his strategy.
The first thing you need to tell your players is that they must be fully concentrated for 90 minutes plus any time added on. Scoring one goal or even two early on may not end the tie as a contest as the Guineans are already prepared to concede one or two goals. If your players start over-celebrating at that stage, they will lose concentration and Guinea will strike back because that is their game plan. And if they manage to reduce 2-0 to 2-1 late in the game, it may be difficult to lift your players’ spirit to search for a third goal.
So, I agree completely with the forecast that you have already made in the press that your target for this match is to win it 3-0. That should be the minimum objective for your players as well and they shouldn’t start playing to the gallery at 1-0 or 2-0. In fact, tell them before kick-off that no player should come and celebrate at the touch-line at 1-0 or 2-0! They should restrict their celebrations to the field and concentrate on the business at hand because the Guineans will be on the look-out for any lapse in concentration at those crucial moments. But when the score-line is 3-0 or 4-0 in our favour, you can tell the substitute players to start corking the champagne bottles.
The last time the Super Eagles needed to win a final qualifying game like this at home to reach a major competition was in 2001 when Shaibu Amodu’s team beat Ghana in Port Harcourt to qualify for the 2002 World Cup finals.
The final score on that occasion was 3-0 as Victor Agali (1) and Tijjani Babangida (2) scored to send the Black Stars home empty-handed.
The major difference between then and now is that, whereas Ghana were already out of contention for Korea/Japan 2002 when they came to Port Harcourt and therefore offered little resistance, Guinea’s Syli Nationale are ahead of Nigeria in the race to the 2012 Nations Cup and they will fight to keep that place. It is down to the Super Eagles to prove that they need the ticket more than the Syli Nationale and beat them silly by at least three goals to nil.
Good luck Super Eagles, good luck Nigeria.
Nigeria @ 51
I TRAVELLED to my home town, Saki in Oyo State, over the weekend even as Nigeria celebrated her 51st independence anniversary on October 1st.
On my return from the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa last year, I presented my travelogue in this column and told of how I made a 300 kilometre bus ride from Durban to Johannesburg without seeing a single pot-hole on the well-tarred road. I then compared it with the road to Saki which had been in a state of total disrepair for more than four decades.
The good news now is that the Saki road has finally been reconstructed and asphalted. It is not as smooth as the Durban-J’Burg road or some of the few nice roads even in Nigeria. But for the first time in my life, I drove all the way to Saki without being covered by dust from head to toe.
Credit for the Saki road goes primarily to former Oyo State governor, Adebayo Alao-Akala ( no relation of mine) who broke the jinx for us in Oke-Ogun area of the State after half-a-century of marginalization and neglect. I didn’t like Akala’s style of dressing nor his public mannerisms which I felt were unbefitting of a state governor. But, for reconstructing the Alaga-Saki road which covers many towns and villages en route, Alao-Akala is my Man-of-the-Year!
Akala has since been replaced at Oyo Government House by Abiola Ajimobi. I hope the new governor will put in place a public-private partnership maintenance arrangement for the road and others in the state to prevent them from collapsing again anytime soon.
Re: Where Are The Fans?
I WAS equally disappointed by the poor turn-out of fans at Teslim Balogun Stadium for the 2011 Federation Cup Final between Enyimba of Aba and Heartland of Owerri. The media tried their best to promote the match but the NFF and the Nigeria Football Supporters’ Club should have organized a road show to the major markets in Lagos to publicize the match and attract more fans.
Secondly, the Cup Final should henceforth be fixed for a period when the European season will be on break so that more fans will be attracted to watch it. Meanwhile, the NFF should stop changing the name of the competition. Many people did not know what “Federation Cup” meant, so they decided to stay away.
I think we should stick to the original “Challenge Cup” which soccer fans are familiar with. – “Nationale,” from Ojo Alaba market, Lagos.
FOR YOUR information, Mumini, we the fans are still very much around and ready to support the domestic league. When I was a kid, I used to follow my dad to watch league matches at Olubadan and Onikan stadiums. If the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) can guarantee my safety, I will return to the stadium. I still follow the Nigerian league on television though. – Ajayi Olabode Anthony, Ibadan, Oyo State.
MUMINI, please publish your e-mail address so that we can pour our grievances to you on the domestic league. This sms “thing” is too small. Sports, especially football, needs to be fully privatized in Nigeria for us to make progress. I have some ideas, but I won’t give it out for free to the NFF. – Cheta from Ogba, Lagos.
HI, MUMINI. Recently, I wrote an article on how to bring football fans back to the stadium in Nigeria. Send me an e-mail address and I will forward it to you. – Izu, Lagos.
*Send to email@example.com. Thanks.
EUROPEAN Football and Nigerian football are miles apart in terms of quality. Nonetheless, I still follow the Nigerian league but not to the extent of going to the stadium! Gunner for life. – Obichris Obialor, Ikotun, Lagos.
THE main problem of our domestic league is not the fans, but the administrators. I have supported Enugu Rangers since I was seven years old, but today, poor management and biased refereeing have turned me off. If NFF or NPL want me back at the stadium, they must do something about their kill-joy referees first. Bye-bye. – 0805919****
MATCH-FIXING is also a problem in English and European football. The difference in their situation compared to Nigeria is that they punish offenders while we let them go scot free. The problem of our League must be shared 50% by the media, 30% government and the administrators, and 20% by the fans. – Churchill Ubakah, Lagos.
THE NFF has killed the local league with all their politicking. I think what they need to do now is to bury it. What are they still waiting for? – 0805767****
NIGERIANS have lost faith in Nigerian sports as a result of bad leadership and corruption by the managers. – Dare, Lagos.
MR ALAO, the fact is that Lagos fans have an “I don’t care” attitude towards Nigerian domestic football. Had the Cup final been played in Kano where the league is well followed just like European football, we would have had a full house.
So, to your question: “Where are the fans?” Well, the answer is that we the true fans of Nigerian football are here in Kano. Up Pillars! –– Bashir, Kano.
Re: Nigeria vs Guinea
SATURDAY, October 8, 2011 will make it exactly six years since we lost the ticket to the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany. History also shows us that, all matches between Nigeria and Guinea at any level, are epic battles. Can our boys cope with the tremendous pressure? I wish them good luck. – Lanre Aladegbaiye, Ikorodu-Lagos.
PLEASE warn the Super Eagles not to wear white jerseys on Saturday, just in case there’s a clash of colours with Guinea. White jersey is a bad omen for Nigeria. Good luck, Super Eagles – 0815300****
JUST as I was wondering why the NFF had not started a campaign to draw soccer fans to the stadium for our crucial qualifier against Guinea, I opened your column (last week) and observed that you wrote about the poor turn-out of fans at the Federation Cup Final in Lagos.
I fear that the problem may resurface in Abuja when the Super Eagles face Guinea. I hope the NFF are doing something about it as the Eagles need the home support to emerge victorious.
As for the local league, I am an Arsenal fan but I will pay any amount to watch defunct Stationery Stores of Lagos. Who will bring them back? – Idowu Adelakun, Orile-Iganmu, Lagos.
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