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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 10:36 am 
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Searching for the elusive SE DNA.

The nigerian football DNA is what it is. It is innate. It is what the nigerian is born with, the gift he has been given by the divine. If you give a 2 year old nigerian boy a ball. He may first kick it and run after it. After a while, he will run with the ball glued to his feet, pushing it a little and running after it. As he grows and plays on the streets, his instincts as well as that of his mates after they have been organised into teams is to outscore the opposition. Nobody wants to be a keeper and whoever chooses to be one may end up liking it and effectively becoming one for a long time to come.

Now for some reason, the nigerian DNA is very strong in the football of the early and late teens, such that we have come to dominate a perplexed world that simply cannot do anything about it. The nigerian teenager is strong, he is powerful, he is pacy, he is skillful, he may be raw, but he is athletic and to top it, he is fearless. He believes he can shoot from anywhere and score and to top it, he has the typical nigerian bravado that many in other countries don't have and can't buy. He exudes confidence, he walks with his head high, his shoulder broad, puffed up and thrust forward and he tells you "we will beat you and we will beat you well", even though he may have likely never seen the opposition play football. The nigerian is cocky and he believes he can back it up.

The poser is this, if this DNA is evident, alive and successful in the nigerian youth, why is it elusive to the cadre of the Super Eagles? To find an answer, it may be best to address the history of the Super Eagles even though we may be limited to what is available in the information superhighway. The people who seem to have an answer are the duo of Clemence Westerhof and Johannes Bonfrere. Why? Well, till those two showed up, Nigeria for years pursued a hopeless ambition to go to the World Cup, the biggest tournament of men's football. Nigeria had won the U16 WC in 1985, got to U20 WC final in 1989 and qualification and domination at those levels were achieved with ease. Westerhof and Jo are the only ones who spotted the nigerian talent, observed and skillfully analysed the gap that lay between it and the organisational structure that the so-called world powers use or claim to use to dominate Africa and they mashed it up to create a winning formula at the age beyond the teens. They needed a period of 5 years but they got there. Their interviews are available below and needs to be listened to and reviewed again and again by anyone wishing to see that DNA shine forth in the players of the SE class and usher in world domination.

Against Argentina yesterday, after we scored our equaliser and Argentina poured pressure and we retreated deep to defend making it only a matter of time for Argentina to get the winning goal, I am 100% certain that Clemence Westerhof and Johannes Bonfrere would have switched from 3-5-2 to maybe a 4-4-2 and then replaced the full backs with more attackminded players. They will then ask the new full backs to go up to the other end and score and leave Lionel Messi and Aguero alone on their own. The SE may end up with a mindboggling 2-5-3 attack formation but Westerhof and Jo did not care. Why? Well, if you are attacked, the nigerian DNA is that you will attack back and show the opposition that you are fearless and that you are better. If the scoreline will end 4-3, 5-4 or even 6-5, so be it. At the point of 1-3 in Atlanta against Brazil in 1996, Bonfrere Jo took off Mobi Oparaku and brought in Teslim Fatusi. Fatusi was inside the Brazil box 18 when Kanu mesmerised Dida for our equaliser.

To close, well, how did Clemence Westerhof and Johannes Bonfrere come to this understanding? Simple. They travelled the length and breadth of Nigeria, searched for the best talent possible and infused that DNA that is natural to the nigerian player and simply ask the player to deliver it for the SE. If he cannot, Westerhof and Jo will simply replace him and look for another that can and will do it.

If Mr Gernot Rohr is to continue as coach of the Super Eagles, his task is to abandon all that he learnt in Europe and other african countries and follow the model of Clemence Westerhof and Johannes Bonfrere. If he needs time, let him plead, beg, cry for it. Nigeria has not changed. The DNA is there. The talent is there. We need that DNA in the SE class.

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