Moments after Super Eagles beat Tahiti 6-1 in the FIFA Confederations Cup, Nigeria’s coach Stephen Keshi inadvertently dropped a bombshell – he admitted he did not have any information on his opponents!
Keshi was reacting to a question put to him in a post-match interview regarding his team’s performance against the Oceania side.
His admission predictably brought a startling response from the analysts in the studios of the broadcaster showing the match, who were amazed that such a thing could happen to a coach heading into a major competition like the Confederations Cup.
In fact, one of the analysts pointed out that as soon as the Eagles were crowned African champions in February, Tahitian coach, Eddy Etaeta had analysed all the matches Nigeria had played at the African Cup of Nations in South Africa in order to plan for their showdown in June!
Unfortunately he (Etaeta) admitted that the players he had pencilled down for “special attention” never made it the pitch on Monday night.
However, the confession is a big indictment on what exactly those running football the game in the country are doing to adequately prepare their coaches (and by extension the teams) ahead of major tournaments.
The Glass House presently has a Technical Committee headed by a board member and an in-house technical department headed by a technocrat.
Its sad that between the two neither thought it important enough or just could not lay their hands on any of the video tapes of the tiny island nation, when it had been known since last year that Tahiti would be coming to Brazil for the Confederations Cup after being crowned Oceania champions.
It is not enough for technical committee members to hop into planes gallivanting around the world with the various national teams without adding any value to the preparation of the teams for the game or competition they are taking part in.
In “war” (which modern football is fast becoming) a general (in this case a coach) is often only as good as the intelligence he is given ahead of the contest, which will afford him the opportunity of preparing properly for the fight.
It is another thing for the general to be able to put the intelligence to good use but at least provide him with all the necessary tools so that if he fails he can have no one but himself to blame!
Perhaps, they (technical committee officials) believed that a team ranked 138th in the world would be “easy meat” for the Eagles, but as we all known no matter how easy the exam we still have to prepare for it – whether we pass or fail it is a different matter entirely.
One only hopes that we would have learnt our lessons and although we got the better of the Tahitians we might not be so lucky in future.