Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has given several explanations on why the Super Eagles failed to beat the Iranians in their Group F World Cup match played in Curitiba, Brazil on Monday.
The Nigerian team which featured professionals from the European leagues were highly tipped to beat the Iranians that paraded mainly amateur players from their domestic league. Ashkan Dejakah of Fulham is Iran’s biggest star in Brazil.
Keshi told the international media after the game that a few things didn’t follow the script including Osaze Odemwingie’s contribution to the match that ended goalless. The coach lamented that the Stoke City striker failed to play to instruction and that caused the Eagles setback.
He said, “The Osaze you are talking about didn’t do well. Osaze did not play to instructions and that affected the team.”
Keshi was responding to questions to his tactical formation and why he waited until late into the game before introducing the striker.
The popular opinion amongst the fans and media at the stadium in Brazil was that Osaze made a lot of difference when he got on the field and indeed had the only meaningful shot at goal against the Iranians.
A former captain of the Eagles Austin Okocha was one of those who were critical of Keshi’s approach to the game. He told the BBC the team needed creative players in that encounter.
He said, “This was a must-win for Nigeria but we did not take it. We did not do enough, we were poor. Keshi did not do enough work on the team. The tactical play was so bad, I hold Keshi responsible for this.
“Osaze (Odemwingie) was more creative when he came in, and we needed more in this game.”
Osaze who was one of the only the four players who had been to the World Cup in the Nigerian squad was a 69th minute replacement for Ramon Azeez.
Keshi said though the defensive stand of the Iranian affected his team, he was firm and right with his starting 11 and the substitutions he made in the game.
The media has criticised the Nigerian coach for leaving out Ike Uche who was the most prolific Nigerian striker in the last season.
Nigeria will play their second Brazil 2014 match on Saturday against Bosnia-Herzegovina in Cuiaba city. The Bosnians lost their opening game to group leaders Argentina.
Source: Punch


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