For Nigeria's coach, Shaibu Amodu, the game against France may only be friendly in a name. The pressure continues to mount on Amodu as the Super Eagles take on Les Bleus. After a lacking performance against Columbia, Jamaica, and recent World Cup qualifier, Mozambique, Nigeria will be looking at its team to build momentum towards their crucial Group 2 qualifying matches against Kenya and Tunisia.
The result of such momentum is seen in the May 29th clash against Ireland. With many preferred first team players out due to injury or club commitments, nevertheless, the Super Eagles came out with finesse. There were several impressive, individual performances by the makeshift players in the team. Though Nigeria held a 1-1 draw, the Super Eagles may have found an answer to their recent scoring woes. The answer is 23 year old Michael Eneramo, the scoring leader of Tunisian League, who earned his first start for the Super Eagles.
With an improved play of his side, no one knows if Amodu will stick with his trusted players, or use some of the new squad that left an impression in the Ireland match. However, many Super Eagles supporters are clamoring for new blood in the team.
After the Ireland match, BBC reported that Amodu was firmly on the hot seat after four games with no victory. Should Nigeria fail to impress in its match against France, the seat will become even hotter. However, Amodu may likely find reprieve with the Kenya and Tunisia matches on the horizon.
Amodu's counterpart is also much criticized, a majority of the fans are not behind Raymond Domenech. But the French Football Federation has on numerous occasions pledged their full fledged support, assuring that Domenech will remain in charge for the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign. Unlike Domenech, whether or not Amodu is afforded that luxury, remains to be seen.
After a depressing Euro 2008, and a rocky start to their qualifying campaign with a 3-1 shock defeat to lowly Austria, France found some rhythm; thus, winning their last two qualifying matches against Lithuania. France sits in second in their qualifying group, two points behind Serbia.
Like Nigeria, France will look to build momentum in St. Etienne as they prepare for their August World Cup qualifier against Group whipping boys, the Faroe Islands. France coach Raymond Domenech is not a nonsense coach who often rubs people the wrong way. It is certain that Coach Raymond will bring his no nonsense approach to this friendly match by fielding a strong and experienced side.
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