5 factors that cost Nigeria the World Cup ticket against Ghana

The Super Eagles of Nigeria failed to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Factors that cost Nigeria the World Cup ticket against Ghana

Ghana have qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar after defeating the Super Eagles of Nigeria on away goals.

The first leg ended goalless in Kumasi while the second game was a 1-1 draw in Abuja but the Ghanaians progressed by virtue of the away goals rule.

Here are five most likely reasons for the unexpected outcome from a Nigerian perspective.

Ultimately Ghana only qualified because of the goal they scored and although Thomas Partey gets the credit, it was massively aided by Nigerian goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho.

Partey attempted a snapshot from just outside the box that was devoid of power or placement and should have been a routine save for Uzoho but he somehow managed to let it squirm under him and into the net.

If there was to be a single moment that cost Nigeria the World Cup ticket, then it had to have been this one.

The newly-renovated Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja looked pristine and modern at least from a distance but the actual playing pitch was nothing to write home about.

The turf was patchy at best and players on both teams found it somewhat difficult to play simple passes without the pitch interfering with the quality of the ball.

Of course, it cannot be the main reason the Super Eagles were poor but the team tried and failed to establish any form of rhythm and the poor state of the pitch was a strong causative.

After Ghana scored, it appeared the realisation of the imminent danger dawned on the Super Eagles players and they immediately turned up the intensity.

Nigeria pressed the Ghanaians until they won a penalty and equalised eleven minutes after conceding. But after they had equalised, Nigeria fell back into their old ways and relaxed the intensity which allowed Ghana to grow back into the game.

The Super Eagles had Ghana dead to rights in the first half and failed to kill the game there and then and by the time halftime came around, the Black Stars had regrouped and never looked vulnerable again.

Victor Osimhen was the only Nigerian player who seemed to understand the gravity of what was at stake tonight and he played his heart out and can go home proud despite the result.

No other Super Eagle can say the same though, it was a barrage of below-par displays but few players performed worse than others.

Calvin Bassey chose the wrong match to have an off day, perhaps the pressure of vying for a World Cup ticket in front of 60,000 fans proved too much for him to handle.

Bassey stunk up the place on his first Super Eagles start, constantly misplacing passes, taking poor touches and generally being poor on both ends of the pitch as a left-back.

Moses Simon, Oghenekaro Etebo and Joe Aribo were the other standout stinkers among players who mostly did not play well, these ones stood out for the wrong reasons.

When the team performs this poorly and wilts in such a high-stakes situation, the coach cannot be absolved of blame. Be it Augustine Eguavoen or Emmanuel Amuneke, it was clear that the team lacked proper coaching.

With the whole team bar Osimhen playing poorly, Nigeria needed a coaching masterclass to save them but the man in charge appeared bereft of ideas.

Eguavoen’s substitutions reeked of desperation and reacting to what was happening rather than an execution of an already formulated plan.

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