Sports Five lessons we learnt from Nigeria's disappointing draw against South Africa

Just when the Nigerian teeming fans were expecting a turnaround in fortunes of the Super Eagles they somehow contrived to dash those expectations.

A drab 0-0 draw ensured that the Super Eagles are win-less after two matches in the 2015 African Nations Cup qualifiers.

Time is running out,and with just four matches left in the qualifying series,the African Champions are in danger of not making it to the Nations Cup in Morocco.

It is early days though,but the signs are ominous that the Super Eagles are struggling to match up with the early pace in group A.

Having lost their home game against Congo Brazaville last Saturday,the general consensus was that the game against South Africa would atone for that blip.

However,the game against South Africa confirmed that the previous match was not a blip,rather a blunt truth of how mediocre the team has been.

The draw has left Nigeria on just one point in third place behind Congo(six points) South Africa(four points) in first and second positions respectively.

It is a precarious situation to be in for the Super Eagles,but it then means that they will have to win their remaining four matches to be able to qualify,yeah you can say same old "permutations".

Below we tried to evaluate five things that didn't in anyway work for Nigeria in Cape Town.

*John Obi Mikel hasn't changed
Mikel is fast becoming the fall-guy when things go awry for Nigeria in a game and he has not done much to arrest the declining fortunes.

The Chelsea player ought to have been the conductor of the orchestra for the Super Eagles,but he was no way near that massive tag.

Since the World Cup,Mikel has been attracting the wrong headlines after matches and rightly so because he hasn't lived up to the hype.

He once again failed to influence Nigeria's game when he should have been the star player.

With the exception where he reacted angrily to a bad tackle in the second half,Mikel was hardly noticed in the match,as he once again went missing when he was needed to show his worth.

*Emmanuel Emenike was wasted on the right:
In the last one year,Emmanuel Emenike has borne Nigeria's goalscoring burdens,adding power in the attack and always a goal-threat.

In the game against South Africa,the Fenerbahce striker was wasted on the right,constantly drifting in there and always pushing for a take-on against an opposition defender.

Well,this might have worked for Nigeria at the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament,specifically in the game against Bosnia-Herzegovina when Emenike bulldozed his way to set up Osaze Odemwingie in the 1-0 win.

Against South Africa on Wednesday,it just didn't work out. Emenike ought to be the focal point in attack not looking to cross the ball to another center forward that he was meant to be.

*Wasted Corner Kicks:
It came to a point that when the corner was awarded,you will be assured that something will not come out of it.

Both Gbolahan Salami and Ahmed Musa failed to deliver a good corner-kick that looked threatening.

All the kicks Nigeria got in the match were totally wasted and ineffective for the team.

The two people who had that honour couldn't adequately cross the ball for their team-mates to latch on to.

*Substitutes didn't make the changes:
Game changers you might want to call them,but the substitutes Nigeria had in the game against the Bafana Bafana had minimal impact.

Unlike in the game against Congo last weekend where the substitutions changed the complexion of the match for Nigeria,against South Africa,such effect was missing.

Although the introduction of Omatsone Aluko brought in some directness in the team,the substitution had little say on the eventual outcome of the match.

*Eagles not so Super,now very predictable
The hard truth is that South Africa could have won this game if they hadn't shown Nigeria way too much respect.

The Bafana Bafana were so timid,and in all fairness edged out a bit of possession in the game that ended in a draw.

If there's anything that these two games have taught Nigeria,it is the fact that they looked every inch beatable.

Congo did theirs,only that South Africa was afraid to be adventurous and look for theirs.

They went safe but in actual sense Nigeria have not turned up to play football as is anticipated.

Stephen Keshi appreciated this fact when he said before the match that they need to "start playing like African Champions"

And truly they need to start playing like one because if they don't, the "African Champions" in question could end up not qualifying to be able to defend their crown.


Photo Credit: @OfficialPSL