Some football enthusiasts on Sunday described as commendable the performance of the Super Eagles against Brazil, saying the team showed it can play against the best in the world.
Newsmen report that the Super Eagles drew 1-1 with five-times world champions Brazil in a pulsating encounter at the Singapore National Stadium in Kallang.
The three-times African champions took the lead after 35 minutes.
That was when Joe Aribo found space in a packed penalty box to rifle in a low shot and grab his second goal in two international appearances.
Brazil equalised three minutes into the second half when Casemiro fired home from close range after he was the quickest to react when a Marquinhos header came back off the woodwork.
A cross-section of football enthusiasts who spoke to newsmen in Abuja in separate interviews after the match noted that they were lots of positives for the Super Eagles from the match.
Newsmen report that the Super Eagles had also recorded a 2-2 draw against hosts Ukraine in an international friendly at Dnipro on Sept. 10.
Ex-international Nduka Ugbade said the Super Eagles showed enough for everyone to be excited with what was to come from them.
Ugbade added that with more high-profile friendlies such as this the team could stand tall with the best in the world.
“The exciting young names in action today (Sunday) have once again produced a performance that shows lots of promise for the new era.
“Aribo, the midfielder who was making only in a second appearance for the Eagles, once again caught the eye with his energy, drive and penetrative runs into the opposition penalty box.
“Victor Osimhen also gave a good account of himself and showed he could be Super Eagles’ number 9 for a long time.
“Though he was unable to find the net, he tormented the defence all through his stay on the pitch with his pace, movement and hold-up play.
“Even more exciting was the fact that he was part of a fluid front-four that included Alex Iwobi, Samuel Chukwueze and Moses Simon,” he said.
Emmanuel Babayaro, also an ex-international, was full of praise for goalkeepers Francis Uzoho and Maduka Okoye, adding that they both put up a strong, competent and world class performance in-between the sticks.
“Uzoho showed excellent agility in cutting out the occasional threats posed by the Brazilians and was also alert to foil several goal-bound attempts.
“It was indeed a shame that he had to leave the scene after twisting his leg as he went for the ball from a Brazil corner kick. I wish him quick recovery.
“His replacement, Okoye, also put in a good shift and was not much troubled as he showed calmness inbetween the sticks for the Eagles.
“I think with what I have seen today, I can confidently say our goalkeeping problems have been almost, if not completely, taken care of,” the former goalkeeper said.
Godwin Bamigboye, the Chairman, Nigeria Football Coaches Association, FCT Chapter, said the result against Brazil would boost the morale of the Eagles to achieve even greater results for the country.
“The boys’ overall performance is worthy of commendation. They indeed proved to the world that they are no push-overs as they started the game with good pace, passion and intensity.
“Uzoho was brilliant in the game. His best in the Super Eagles shirt. But, ultimately, it is the performance of the front-four that has had me excited with what’s to come.
“Chukwueze was also a thorn in the flesh of the Selecao throughout, and created lots of goal-scoring chances for the Eagles.
“Of course, they are far from the finished product. Still very young and raw, and Iwobi, Chukwueze, Moses and Osimhen could make occasional errors against experienced and top opposition.
“But, as they showed against Brazil today (Sunday), they possess the skills and talent to do great things with the Super Eagles.
“As for their inexperience, coach Gernot Rohr has the time to work with them.
“With no major tournament until 2021, the Super Eagles can keep finetuning with good friendly games like the one against Ukraine and Brazil,” he said.
Newsmen also report that the result was a huge confidence-booster for the Super Eagles, who begin their race to the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations with qualifying matches against Benin Republic and Lesotho next month.
It was also a huge improvement from Nigeria’s 0-3 defeat to the Selecao in a friendly match in Abuja in June 2003.