BY SAB OSUJI
Amaechi Otti, a former Nigeria defender, has heaped plaudits on the Super Eagles following Thursday night's pyrrhic 1-0 triumph over hosts, Elephants of Ivory Coast in their Group A match day two fixture in the ongoing 2023 Africa Cup of Nations holding in the West African nation, Exclusivenews.com.ng reports.
William Troost-Ekong's 55th minute well struck penalty fetched the three time African Champions all three points in a combative seemingly one sided clash with the hosts enjoying 65% ball possession as against Eagles 35%.
The Ivoiriens equally enjoyed over 450 completed passes against Super Eagles over 200 completed passes, thus, painting a picture of luck and fate coming handy to aid Nigeria's win, which now pushed them to the second spot on the standings behind Equatorial Guinea, who earlier in the day humbled Guinea Bissau 4-2.
Otti, who had a successful career on the domestic scene with the Coal City Flying Antelopes, Rangers International, before a move to Europe, reckons that though Super Eagles rose to glory on the night on the crest of luck, it's not impossible for the team to reach the tournament's podium on the wings of luck.
"Looking at the matches statistics, one can say it was a one way traffic for the hosts, Elephants of Ivory Coast", begins Otti who is in the country for his late father inlaw's burial which took place over the weekend in Oji River LGA, Enugu,State.
"The home team enjoyed about 65 per cent ball possession. They also had over 450 completed passes against Super Eagles 35 per cent possession and over 240 completed passes.
"Therefore, on the balance of play, the Elephants could understandably be said to be better and perhaps deserves to win. But then, you don't always need the best of play or performance to win on a big stage such as this.
"We do say 'god of soccer' back in those days which is today referred to as luck. I think today, the Super Eagles rose on the wings of luck to win and I hope such divine favour drives them through to glory in the entire tournament".
Otti would also reflect on the castigations manager Jose Peseiro has received in the course of his role as Super Eagles handler. He reasons that though the Portuguese may not have been perfect or infallible, those who engaged him should look themselves in the face and ask themselves fundamental questions that border on 'morality', 'fairness', and 'sincerity'.
"First and foremost, was he seen and accepted as the 'bestman for the job before his appointment'?. Has he worked and proved he's the best since his employment?
"Reason is that, this is a coach who rejected working with one of the assistants imposed on him by his employers but today, the same (assistant) coach is with the team in Ivory Coast.
"We've seen what he's brought to the table since his arrival but his employers have displayed absolute lack of 'political will', 'courage' and 'patriotic zeal' to do the needful".
Could Thursday night's win over hosts and top tournament favourites, Ivory Coast, be the needed impetus to push the Super Eagles to victory in the tournament?
"It's not impossible", Otti responded sharply. "It wasn't a good start for the Eagles in the tournament following a 1-1 draw with Equatorial Guinea in their opening match of the group.
"And it would have been a monumental disaster for the Eagles if they had lost today to Ivory Coast. And having won a big game like this against the hosts, favourites for the title, I think Eagles players confidence has come up high and if they build and sustain the tempo, they could be unstoppable", Abia State born Amaechi Otti submitted".