With a loss to Ghana, the hopes of many Super Eagles fans have been dashed. Nigeria is out of the 2022 World Cup, and has lost a great experience to grow.
Any World Cup dreams the Super Eagles had are now over thanks to a disappointing result against Ghana on the 29th of March. Though the match drew 1-1, Ghana edged to victory thanks to their away goals, knocking Nigeria out of the World Cup qualifiers. Is this a huge failure for the Super Eagles?
(Image Source: Unsplash)
A Chance to Play the Best
Obviously, not being able to head to the World Cup means that the Nigerian national team is not going to get the opportunity to play against some of the best teams from around the world. This would have been a fantastic experience for the Super Eagles. Ghana head to the World Cup, instead, in a group with Portugal, Uruguay, and South Korea. If we check the latest odds from William Hill, Ghana aren’t expected to get out of the group.
Though many players on the Nigerian national team have signed with teams across the world, this does not mean that they get the chance to play against other international talents as frequently as one could imagine. Playing in a national team can be very different compared to playing in a typical domestic league or an international league like the UEFA Champions League. In every World Cup tournament, Nigeria gets the chance to take on talent that they don’t usually see. This time, they miss it.
A Bad Result
To be beaten by several goals is understandable. However, the way in which Nigeria went out has understandably upset a lot of fans. As the match played out, they ended up drawing 1-1 with Ghana. The decision over who would advance to the World Cup was then decided by away goals, with the overall win going to Ghana.
This is the equivalent of having victory snatched from your very fingertips, so it is not surprising in the slightest that we see Nigeria’s fans being so upset now. Appearing at the World Cup is a must for any team, and Nigeria enjoyed a fairly good run in 2018. To not get another shot in 2022 will be very difficult for them to come to terms with.
Shifts Across African Football
This defeat for the Super Eagles is just one of the many shifts in African football that we can see at the moment. Following a defeat in the AFCON final and a failure to qualify for the World Cup too, there have been rumours that Egyptian star Mo Salah might be retiring from international football.
Algeria has also requested a do-over of their play-off against Cameroon. It seems like no aspect of this World Cup qualifier has been easy for the African teams. It could be an indicator of more to come in the World Cup itself, whether it is in the games featuring the African teams who make it there or the others who will be joining them from FIFA’s other confederations.
This qualification has not been good for the Super Eagles. Now is the time to put bruised egos aside and focus on what must be done to deliver a better result next time around. The World Cup in 2026 might seem a long way off, with 2022 still due to even play out, but that does not mean that the Eagles cannot start working on a strategy now. If they are to make it to a World Cup again, they need to focus in on what went wrong this time and work to overcome it. In doing so, they will be in a much better position to reverse the failure they experienced this time around.
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