31st August, 2010
Former Super Eaglesâ€™ defender, Emeka Ezeugo has described the defence of the senior national team as porous, saying it cannot be compared to what was obtainable during his days in the team.
Ezeugo, a member of the victorious Tunisia â€™94 Nations Cup Eagles, said that after he watched the team crumble in the group stage of the South Africa 2010 World Cup, he was worried about what has become of the Nigerian team once dreaded both in Africa and the world.
The former Rangers of Enugu defender, who is an assistant coach to Samson Siasia’s Heartland Football Club of Owerri, said it is worrisome that the Eaglesâ€™ defence is weak, adding that passion and commitment to national duty are no longer in the players.
The 43-year-old defender, speaking with P.M Sports after Heartland defeated Ismaily of Egypt 2-1 in one of the CAF Champions League group matches played at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri on Sunday, decried the state of the teamâ€™s backline, insisting that something drastic must be done as Nigeria get set for the qualifying campaign of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.
He noted that the defence of the team must be overhauled to achieve the desired result. He also took a swipe at the coaches that had handled the Eagles in the past, saying that they didnâ€™t do enough work to get the best legs that can help marshal the teamâ€™s rear.
According to the Nigerian, who had played professional football in five continents, â€œI was supposed to be at the South Africa 2010 World Cup with a media company, but something went wrong and I couldnâ€™t make it. Some of my friends in America asked me why Nigeria took fat players to the World Cup. I was speechless seeing our players too big to control the ball in their matches in South Africa. I was ashamed of the defence of our team because the players allowed in cheap goals.â€
On the way forward, Ezeogu advised any coach that would manage the team to bring in fit players, who feature regularly for their clubs abroad regardless of the leagues they are coming from. â€œAnybody that would coach the Super Eagles must beware of inviting players that are too fat because most times fat players are not always fit. They canâ€™t turn their waist as fast as possible when fast and sleek attackers are on the prowl.â€
Ezeugo, who has lived most of his life in America, said he decided to come back home to help develop football because â€œif I could help a foreign country develop her football, why canâ€™t I replicate such in my country of birth?â€
â€”AdebobolaÂ Â Alawode/Owerri