Of course, Pyrrhic victories are an outlier. But there’s that feel victory gives, whether lucky breaks, smash-and-grabs or decisive victories: it very easily papers over cracks, gets everyone giddy with excitement and engenders optimism. The Super Eagles victory at Wroclaw toed that line. It was more dwelling on the positives than digging into the gory details of an uncoordinated attack and poor transitioning. Perhaps we were all too focused on sorting out the goalkeeping position, crowning Francis Uzoho the guardian of the Nigeria goalpost or soundly thrashing him as a gigantic fraud unworthy to strap Ikechukwu Ezenwa’s gloves.
Conversely, losing hurts. Almost numbing the mind, it very easily could begin the spiral into that dark hollow cave of disbelief.
The point is that in victories or losses it takes a keen and deliberate act to fish out lessons, look into the glossed over cracks, glean data and feedback from that dark hole.
Thankfully, pre-World Cup friendlies are designed exactly to show the team’s strengths and weaknesses, either in victories or losses.
For the Super Eagles, the international break afforded Gernot Rohr the opportunity to further assess his squad while trying out a few players who could grab the last seat on the plane to Russia.
The friendlies further belaboured the point that the Super Eagles are painful to watch without the captain Mikel Obi.
From the look of things, Mikel does stand as the team’s most important player…