World Cup 2014: Nigeria need victory to revive African challenge

Super Eagles face Bosnia today with Cameroon already out, Ghana and Algeria down

Nigeria take on Bosnia and Herzegovina in Cuiaba this evening, playing not just for their own chances in Group F but for the broader hopes of African representation in the last 16.

It has not been an excellent tournament for Africa so far, with Cameroon already out, Ghana and Algeria having lost their first games and Ivory Coast, probably the continent’s best team, needing a result in their last match to progress.

Nigeria are African champions and came with high hopes of progress from a rather unbalanced group. However, Stephen Keshi’s side were frustrated by Iran in a 0-0 draw in their first game.

Iran, with far less firepower than Nigeria, were happy to sit deep. The Super Eagles, despite Em-  manuel Emenike up front and Victor Moses and Ahmed Musa on the wings, could find no way through a defence as-sembled by Carlos Queiroz.

It was a poor performance and Nigeria legend Jay-Jay Okocha blamed the coach. “This was a must-win for Nigeria but we did not take it,” Okocha said afterwards. “We did not do enough, we were poor. Keshi did not do enough work on the team. The tactical play was so bad, I hold Keshi responsible for this.”

Nigeria need to improve tonight to beat Bosnia, and may bring Stoke’s Peter Odemwingie into their starting line-up. If they win, against a Bosnia side who looked organised and tenacious in their 2-1 defeat to Argentina at the Maracana, they will be well placed to qualify in second. But Bosnia deserve to be favourites.

If Nigeria do progress to the last 16, and face, in all likelihood, France, it would be good news for those valuing continental heterogeneity in the World Cup. Four years ago Ghana were one penalty miss away from being the first African team to reach the semi-finals. This time, it seems unlikely that any African side will do so well.

Ivory Coast started with a 2-1 win over Japan, but after losing to Colombia, they need a win against Greece in Fortaleza on Tuesday to make certain of progress and a likely game against Italy.

Cameroon were dismal in defeats to Mexico and Croatia, and are already eliminated. Ghana were unfortunate in their last-gasp 2-1 defeat to the United States but now need a result against Germany tonight to stay competitive in the difficult Group G. Algeria were leading Belgium 1-0 with 20 minutes left but could not withstand the late pressure. They do have the nous, though, to get results against South Korea and Russia in their last two games.

For those hoping to see a knockout stage with teams from beyond Europe and Latin America, Nigerian and Ghanaian success today, and a win for Ivory Coast on Tuesday, would be welcome.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee