Following the Super Sand Eagles' elimination in the group stage of the 2017 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Bahamas, Completesportsnigeria.com's JAMES AGBEREBI highlights FOUR key areas which can improve the team.
1. Need For Nigeria Beach Soccer League
Despite Nigeria's impressive record when it comes to Beach Soccer, especially in Africa, one area that needs serious attention is the introduction of a Beach Soccer League.
The present crop of players in the Super Sand Eagles play the conventional football for different clubs in the Nigerian league.
What this entails is that these players only come together whenever the CAF Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations or the COPA tournament is around the corner.
But with the establishment of a Beach Soccer League, Nigeria will have players who are properly groomed on beach soccer. It will serve as an avenue where players can be monitored on a regular bases and deserving ones getting invitation to the national team.
2. The current Super Sand Eagles Squad Needs Freshening Up
Some of the players in the current Super Sand Eagles have been in the team a long time, unnecessarily.
The trio of skipper Isiaka Olawale, Bartholomew Ibenegbu and Ogbonnaya Okemmiri were in the Sand Eagles squad that made their FIFA World Cup debut in 2006.
Also at the 2007 and 2009 editions, Olawale, Ibenegbu and Okemmiri were in the squad. Azeez Abu and Victor Tale made their World Cup debuts in 2009.
Without trying to force the three veterans out of the team, it is high time, the coaching crew introduce young and hungry players who will move the team to the next level instead of still relying on these three players who have passed their prime.
3. Coaching Crew Must Go For Refresher Courses
Going the poor performance of the Sand Eagles at the 2017 Beach Soccer World Cup, it was evident that the team was lacking tactically.
What was clearly driving the team was just determination, hardwork and will power from the players. It was crystal clear that the team lacked organisation and discipline.
In their first game against Italy, the Sand Eagles started well, but at the crucial stage of the game, they were blown away 12-6 thanks to superior tactical savvy by the Italian coaching crew.
Without taking anything away from their victory against Mexico, they muscled their way to victory after the Mexicans had been the better team in the opening stages of the game.
And against Iran, it was a surprise that the game ended on penalties as the Asians were tactically sound, defended and attacked in unit, which showed a team that is properly coached.
4. Early And Adequate Preparation For Major Tournaments
One of the banes of the Sand Eagles at the 2017 Beach Soccer World Cup in Bahamas was the fact that the team didn't get good preparation.
After the conclusion of the CAF Beach Soccer AFCON hosted by Nigeria last year, nothing was heard of the team.
Serious preparations only started few weeks before the World Cup which unfortunately was not good enough.
While other countries that qualified for the World Cup were busy taking part in pre-tournaments in different parts of the world, the Sand Eagles were camped in Badagry and were expected to perform wonders in Bahamas.
However, how painful it was, their elimination in the group stage didn't come as a surprise to many since much was not expected from them due to poor preparation.