Eli Wallach played the role of Tuco Benedicto Pacífico Juan María Ramírez (The Ugly) in one of the greatest movies of all-time, The Good, The Bad & The Ugly. I decided to dedicate my latest column in his memory, by looking back on Super Eagles’ win over Cameroon that featured all three aspects. Nigeria will now face South Africa in the quarter finals.
Nigeria’s never say die spirit was evident. Odion Ighalo was the perfect example of a player who did everything that was asked of him to do on the pitch.
Nigeria booked their spot in the AFCON quarter finals after defeating holders Cameroon 3-2 in what was an enthralling heavyweight battle in Alexandria.
Arsenal forward Alex Iwobi capped a crazy three-minute spell just past the hour to dump Clarence Seedorf’s side out of the competition after former Watford striker Ighalo had pulled the Super Eagles level with his second of the contest.
Cameroon had scored a quick-fire double of their own just prior to the interval as Stephane Bahoken and Clinton Njie cancelled out Ighalo’s opener to put them in front.
Nigeria’s performance in the closing stages of the first half was something to forget. The fullbacks were exposed constantly by Cameroon. Daniel Akpeyi looked shaky at times while William Troost-Ekong and Kenneth Omeruo could have done more to stop Bahoken from scoring. The Eagles cannot afford to start another match like this again. Can Samuel Chukwueze replace Moses Simon even though he is not as defensive savvy or will van Gernot Rohr prefer to go total football against South Africa?
The decision to play too deep after going ahead was one of the ugliest factors in this game for the Eagles, they must kill off games and not give the enemies the chance to bounce back.
Bafana Bafana have impressed at this AFCON by advancing from a group that featured Morocco, Cote d’Ivoire and Namibia. However, Nigeria better avoid another Good, Bad and Ugly performance against South Africa if they want to book a ticket to the Semi-Finals where they await the winner of Mail vs Cote d’Ivoire/Algeria vs Guinea.