By Victor Okoye
Nigeria’s Super Eagles again played below the expectations of Nigerians for the second time as it lost 0-1 to Czech Republic in an international friendly on Wednesday.
The match played at the Rudolf Tonn Stadium Austria, a multi-purpose facility in Rannersdorf, a city in the sub-division of Schwechat outside Vienna, left the Eagles and Nigerians asking questions about the readiness of the Super Eagles.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the game was expected to give coach Gernot Rohr one last chance to iron out any deficiencies before the World Cup begins.
Both teams started the game with attacking intent.
However, it was the Czechs who created all the chances, but were denied by a combination of good defending and poor finishing.
The Czechs pressure eventually paid off as they opened the scoring with 25 minutes played.
A short corner kick was whipped in and a near-post header forced a good save out of Francis Uzoho but the ball fell into the path of Tomas Kalas, who had a simple finish.
The Nigerian team struggled to play with fluidity and was restricted to chances from set-piece plays for the remainder of the first half.
The Super Eagles however started the second half with more intent as they looked to keep the ball and break down a stubborn Czech defence.
The players were then called off the pitch in the 59th minute as the heavens opened, with rain and hail pelting the ground.
The storm soon calmed, and the players were brought back onto the pitch.
Both teams made several substitutions as the coaches looked to give some of their players an opportunity.
The changes affected the tempo of the game and in spite of a much better showing in the second half, Nigeria could not find an equaliser.
The Czechs held on for the lone goal victory as Nigeria ended their preparations for the World Cup with another disappointing loss.
But it was a loss which left many wondering whether the team was really ready for the competition which gets underway on June 14.
Nigeria’s first match at the World Cup is on June 16, against Croatia in Kaliningrad.