Nigeria’s beach soccer national team, Super Sand Eagles’ coach, Audu Adamu (Ejo) has blamed late preparations and poor motivation for his side’s inability to hold their own at this year’s world championship in Paraguay, where they lost all three group matches.
Speaking in the wake of Tuesday’s 12-2 mauling by title favourites Brazil, which followed a 10-1 loss to Portugal and 6-5 defeat by Oman, Ejo tasked Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and other authorities in the country to support beach soccer further and better in the coming year.
A report by fifa.com noted that rain wasn’t the only thing in the air during the final group stage match of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, Paraguay 2019, as the goals also poured in and Brazil finished at the top of Group D with ease.
Mauricinho and Lucao put Brazil ahead before Egan-Osi Ekujumi gave the Eagles a glimmer of hope with his tidy finish, but Rodrigo added a third with a driven left-footed finish into the far corner, after which Nigeria’s captain Azeez Abu carved out a one-on-one chance and finished confidently past Mao.
However, Lucao got his second on the night with a precise volley, and Brazil pulled away in the third period, as Rodrigo completed his hat-trick, highlighted by an impressive bicycle kick, while Bokinha scored a brace and Rafinha, Bruno Xavier, Catarino and Filipe all got on the scoresheet.
While Ejo’s squad entered their last group match with determination to get at least something in terms of a consolation from the champions, the Eagles were outdone not only on the sand, but also in the stands, as Brazilian fans were in particularly raucous form on Tuesday.
The Brazilian fans, men and women alike, were adorned in radiant colour, dancing in vibrancy and singing joyously all through the encounter, bedecked in their traditional yellow jerseys, they noisily celebrated all 12 of their team’s goals, while belting out some classic old football chants, but Ejo insists it was not just the opposing players’ quality and their fans that affected his squad.
He reckoned that his team were unable to make their mark at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup this year simply because they lack the same level of exposure their opponents in other teams get regularly, especially as Nigeria does not have a specialized domestic league for the event.
The embattled gaffer add that, for Nigeria to make an appreciable impact in future editions of the Beach Soccer World Cup and even the African championship, the NFF must embark upon a process for the introduction of an annual league in the country.
The Kogi State-born tactician added that countries that do well in the sport have beach soccer domestic leagues, from which specialized players are selected for international competitions, which is the reverse situation at present in Nigeria.
He went on to shower praises on his players for holding their own to the best of their abilities and giving each match spirited efforts, only that their best was not good enough, but he posited with a view that they will get better results in subsequent outings, globally and continentally, if they get better support from the NFF.
Ejo stressed: “My boys are good and experienced in beach soccer. What we need is improved and better motivation in terms of allowances and regular training. The NFF needs to introduce a beach soccer league in our country, because does that are doing well have beach soccer leagues.
“We only assemble when there is competition and no friendly matches for us like other national teams. It looks like we don’t exist as a national team. Before this FIFA World Cup, apart from our qualifiers, the team only participated in COPA Lagos and Paraguay’s six-nation Beach Soccer International friendly which ended three days to the World Cup.”