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Nigeria: Soaring High

We are not a football team. We are a football club. We don't play football. We live it.
Started on 18 April 2014 by imdxvid / First Post
Latest Reply on 1 May 2014 by Tallery / Last Post
  • POSTS14
  • VIEWS4580
 
WHY NIGERIA NATIONAL FOOTBALL TEAM?

My reason for being Nigeria is because of a question which occurred which was "How Many Times Have Nigeria Won the World Cup?" The answer to that question was "The Nigeria National Football team has not won any FIFA World Cup ever since the tournament started. However, the team has been participating in most of the tournaments including the 2010 FIFA World Cup that was held in South Africa. Some of the countries that have dominated the World Cup include Brazil, who have won it five times, and Italy who have won it four times."

I want to win Nigeria the World Cup and make them one of the best National teams in the world.

WHO AM I?


I will be playing as Nigerian legend Jay-Jay Okocha making him the coach of Nigeria National Football Team.

He is widely regarded as the Best Nigerian Player of his Generation. He is also known for his stepovers, skill, technique, and being 'so good that they named him twice' (a line immortalised in a terrace chant while Okocha played for Bolton Wanderers).

Okocha made his official debut for Nigeria in their 2–1 1994 FIFA World Cup Qualifier away loss against Ivory Coast in May 1993.It was not until his second cap and home debut that he became a favourite with the Nigerian supporters. With Nigeria trailing 1–0 against Algeria, in a match they needed to win, he scored from a direct free kick to equalise, before helping the team to a 4–1 win, eventually securing qualification to their first World Cup. In 1994, he was a member of both the victorious 1994 African Cup of Nations squad and the World Cup squad who made it to the second round before they lost in a dramatic match against eventual runners-up Italy.

In 1996, Okocha became a member of an arguably more successful Nigerian side, their Olympic gold winning side at the Atlanta Games, later nicknamed Dream Team by the Nigerian press after the USA 1992 Olympic gold winning basketball team. In the 1998 FIFA World Cup hosted by France, Okocha played for a disappointing Super Eagles side who failed to live up to expectations again reaching the round of 16, albeit with less impressive performances save for their 3–2 opening win against Spain. This did not destroy interest in Okocha, who had entertained fans with his trademark skills and dribbles and went on to be named in the squad of the tournament.
Nice manager and interesting team choice, will be interesting to see how far you'll go with this team, good luck!




THE FRIDAY INTERVIEW: ‘Jay-Jay’ Okocha

HOW IMPORTANT IS THIS WORLD CUP QUALIFICATION FOR NIGERIA?
I think it is very important. Especially for those in the football business. I think it is a must for us to be there especially when we have five spaces in Africa. So I think it is very important for our people because there isn't much to cheer about now so we have to give them something to cheer about through football.

YOU WERE CAPTAIN OF THE TEAM THAT FAILED TO QUALIFY FOR THE 2006 WORLD CUP. HOW BAD AN EXPERIENCE WAS THAT?
Very bad. It was like a bad dream. We all felt the impact because it was like everything came to a stalemate. Football is like a religion for us here and for all of us that was a very bad period. And it is not something I would like to wish on the country or the players ever again.

DID YOU THINK THIS GROUP OF PLAYERS WOULD MAKE IT SO EASILY?
Well, I don't think it was easy because we had to fight our way through and whether we like it or not, the team has been growing, they have been improving.

We have to give them credit. They battled their way to this point. Nobody really thought they would be in this position at this time.

We were talking about rebuilding and we expected that it would take us many years to get here, but it is to the coaches credit and to the players' credit that they have delivered beyond expectation.


WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE CONFEDERATIONS CUP PERFORMANCE, DO YOU AGREE WITH THOSE WHO SAY THE TEAM NEEDS MORE EXPERIENCE AS THEY RETURN TO BRAZIL?
I don't think so. The team was exposed during the Confederations Cup but I think that gave them a lot of experience and something to build on.
They've grown since the Confed Cup because I think they learned a lot of lessons from that tournament and going back to Brazil, I think they will do a lot better. But at the end of the day, it's up to the coach.

AS A FORMER MIDFIELDER, DO YOU THINK THIS CURRENT MIDFIELD CAN HOLD UP AGAINST THE BEST IN THE WORLD?
Yes, I think so. If I may be honest, the midfielders that we have now play a bit more collectively. We don't really have that individual talent that can stand out as an individual player when the going gets tough. But I think they are doing well as a team which is the most important thing because football is a team game.

YOU HAVE BEEN A FORMER CAPTAIN OF THIS TEAM, SHOULD JOSEPH YOBO RETURN TO THE SQUAD?
He deserves another chance. If he is still fit, if he is still playing European football with a top side in Turkey.

I think he deserves a chance, because what makes a team is to have 23 strong players and not 16.

And whatever issues they have, at this moment it might be the right time to resolve it.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THIS TEAM AND THE ONE YOU PLAYED IN BETWEEN 1993 AND 1996?
I would say the only difference is maturity. We had a lot of mature players and a better squad. Because I can say that during that period, we had a team where every player could not go to sleep, you had to be on your toes all the time otherwise somebody would take your place.

But now, you can almost predict who will be in the first eleven. I think we had a bit more competition in the team then.

AND HOW FAR DO YOU THINK THIS TEAM CAN GO AT THE WORLD CUP?
We don't have to get carried away, we have to set a realistic target for our team.

We will all be happy to see them win the World Cup but we know that’s almost impossible at this moment.

We don't have to set ourselves a target that is almost like mission impossible. So a realistic target should be to qualify from our group even though we don't know who will be there, then from there anything can happen when we get to the knockout stage.
Two great updates here!

Looking forward to this!
Good luck!
Really good start and great updates! I have a soft spot for national team stories ;)
Looks like an interesting story. Will be following it!
Never seen a Nigeria story on here, will be following.
Good start, and good luck man !
imdxvid's avatar Group imdxvid
5 yearsEdited


Nigeria lose to a world class Spanish side





NIGERIA XI VS SPAIN


Nigeria met Spain in the Jay-Jay Okocha's first friendly game.

Nigeria were more adventurous than the majority of Spain’s opponents, but they left plenty of space for the World Champions to break into.

After changing almost his entire team from a side which previous manager Stephen Keshi would have picked Jay-Jay Okocha was in for a 'belter' which surprisingly didn't happen.

Nigeria cause problems

Nigeria’s proactive midfield play and pace on the break caused problems, however, and there were three areas in particular where they seemed dangerous.

First, Mikel was extremely impressive in his midfield role – showing skill and creativity on the ball, playing passes towards the front three. Xavi was often too deep to stop him – partly because Busquets spent much of his time between the centre-backs, so Xavi was playing deep himself.

Second, Moses continues to be a hugely dangerous counter-attacking option. His acceleration is incredible, and although his final pass needs to improve, he often hits very early crosses in behind the defence for forwards to run onto – had Nigeria been blessed with better quality in the penalty box, one of Moses’s balls may have been an assist.

Third, Spain’s narrowness on the left caused problems without the ball. Alba was forced to defend against Ideye Brown, which meant there was a huge amount of space ahead of him, with Fabregas often not covering. Right-back Balogun pushed forward and produced two excellent crosses – again, one should have been converted.

Such was the Nigerian pressure, you wondered whether Del Bosque would consider introducing Javi Martinez at half-time, to reinstate his double pivot – this was a good advertisement for that system, considering how Spain were rather bullied deep in midfield.



LOSE AND THERE IS NO WORLD CUP FOR NIGERIA

Previous manager Stephen Keshi has left Nigeria in a hole with Nigeria only having one game left against Mali(1st) they have to win to qualify for the World Cup. This is Jay-Jay Okocha's first real challenge to see if he can pay off the debts Stephen Keshi left for Nigeria.

Jay-Jay-Okocha told ESPN: "The 2014 Fifa World Cup ticket is very, very important to Nigeria and Nigerians. Yes, we have qualified for the African Nations Championship, for the first time ever, and we very much appreciate it.

“But there one very crucial 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifying match that we must prosecute successfully to qualify for Brazil before we can start the build-up to the African Nations Championship.

“Our smart money must be on focusing hard, and without any distraction, at the World Cup ticket," he added.

“We are all focused on the important task of qualifying Nigeria for the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals.

Jay-Jay Okocha expressed the importance of Emmanuel Emenike for this final qualifying match: Emmanuel Emenike – The difference between Nigeria with and Nigeria without Emmanuel Emenike is clear.

In the latter stages of last year’s African Cup, the Super Eagles powered past Mali 4-1 in the semi-finals with him, then sorely missed the injured striker in a tense 1-0 win over Burkina Faso in the final.

The 26-year-old Fenerbahce forward continued his good form with a goal in Nigeria’s friendly match against spain scoring once against arguably the best international team in the world.

Fantastic update, hopefully Emenike will never get injured for you ;P
I'm loving the layout of the story with the added green in there. Unlucky versus Spain, however, they are a tough side.
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