Will the Super Eagles get their Africa Cup of Nations qualification campaign back on track with a win over South Africa on Wednesday evening?
Records are there to be broken, or so they say, but the current Nigeria squad will surely be devastated that the Super Eagles’ proud history of resilience at home fell on their watch.
For 33 long years the West African giants hadn’t lost a competitive match on their own patch. 1981 was the last home defeat, invincibility ever since….few of the continent’s nations could have made claims greater than that…until now.
The Republic of Congo strode into town behind Claude Le Roy, a wily, savvy veteran who knows how to forge resilient, yet offensive-minded teams. He hasn’t always succeeded, but he did on Saturday, dethroning the African champions with unforgettable aplomb.
Historically, statistically, few can argue that it was not a shock to see Nigeria not only beaten at home by one of the continent’s mid-ranked sides, but also concede three (the defence, after all, was the last to be breached at the recent World Cup.)
However, anyone who has witnessed the Super Eagles in the 18 months or so since they won the African championship will be aware of how things have stagnated (if not deteriorated) for Stephen Keshi’s troops. Despite a vast and extensive talent pool, doubts remain about both the organisation of and the personnel in both the midfield and the attack. After conceding three, perhaps the defence ought to come under scrutiny as well.
There is no time for Nigeria to sulk, brood upon their failure and lick their wounds, they return to action on Wednesday evening with their second Group A fixture, against South Africa in Cape Town.
Could another record be about to fall?
By Ed Dove