Well its no longer news that the Super Eagles of Nigeria fell to the Bafana-Bafana of South-Africa in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers over the weekend in Akwa-Ibom.
Premium Sports Center details the way going forward for our Darling Super Eagles.
Nigerians sat and watched in agony as our darling Eagles put up a shambolic performance and lost to South Africa for the first time. But let's take our minds back to the game.
Where did we get it wrong and what are the corrections to make going forward?
*1. LACK OF LEADERAHIP PRESENCE IN THE TEAM*
The super eagles looked more like Barcelona without a Lionel Messi. Super Eagles captain, Mikel Obi could not be part of the Nigeria's squad as the former Chelsea star is currently recuperating from an injury he sustained while playing for his Chinese super league team Tiadjin Teda few months back.
Mikel's presence would have been a big boost for the Eagles as the midfield and indeed the entire team lacked coordination against the Bafana Bafana as the duo of Onazi and Ndidi failed to produce any commanding presence which helped the South Africans to penetrate confidently.
With the game goalless at half-time it was evident something was lacking.
Mikel's presence would have ensured a continuous forward press against a south African defence that looked susceptible to conceding within the first ten minutes of that tie, but in his absence the South Africans grew in confidence and the Eagles couldn’t find their rhythm as the players were tentative to say the least.
Our skipper for the day failed to coordinate the team's search for an equalizer and they were punished for it.
The way and manner in which the second goal was conceded was even worse off as it was obvious there was no form of coordination in the side, something Mikel brings to each game.
*2. VICTOR MOSES ABSENCE*
Chelsea star Victor Moses would have been of great assistance to the Super Eagles attacking frontline as the performance of Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho against the Bafana Bafana of South Africa almost gave many Nigerian fans heart attack and high blood pressure.
Kelechi Iheanacho should be waiting to hit corners into the net but not crossing them.
Victor Moses strength, maturity of his game, attacking skills and experience would have decimated the Bafana Bafana defense, but sadly he was absent.
*3. JITTERY DEFENSE*
The Super Eagles back four were out of sort against Bafana-Bafana, left full back Elderson Echiejile disappointed many Nigerian fans with his errors, poor clearances and even dribbled at the edge of the box when he should have simply cleared!!!
Fans had hoped that his experience would be exemplified against South Africa, but the night turned sour for him as the South Africans made him look so bad that Nigerians are calling for his head. A night to forget for the defender.
Daniel Akpeyi didn’t have a bad game either as he couldn’t be faulted for both goals, but he was jittery to say the least and we can't turn a blind eye to his blunder in the first half which could have led to a goal when he fumbled a cross he stylishly caught, luckily the post came to his rescue.
Akpeyi wasn’t that bad but a lot of Nigerians would have wanted Ezenwa in between the sticks considering his recent form.
1. The NFF must ensure that the super eagles are engaged in competitive friendly matches and not pitching the team against Corsica and Togo, with due respect to both teams they're not the kind of opposition we should be facing, we have bigger fish to fry!
Teams like Egypt, Ivory coast, Ghana or even a top foreign country would have been a good test.
2. The Super eagles technical team should try as much as possible to always maintain a winning team, drafting Chidozie Awaziem to partner Troost Ekong while leaving Kenneth Omeruo on the bench was catastrophic.
For a coach that wants result, Omeruo's arrival 5 days to the match is enough for him to start the game judging by his ability.
At least we've seen Liverpool sent a Private jet to pick up both Coutinho and Firmino from far away South America two days to a game.
3. IHEANACHO cannot play as a central striker, we have seen this countless times when playing for his club (Manchester City).
It is either the team formation is changed to a 4-4-2 so he can play just behind the point man, or a striker with a lot of presence such as Victor Osimen or Onyekuru be be given a chance.
And finally, Genort Rohr needs to step up with his selections and not complain about not picking certain players because he isn’t unsure of their age, we need a team that can compete against the best teams on the planet and if that means drafting a 40 year old into the Super Eagles then just do it, just take a look at Defoe and Aduriz and you’ll get my picture……..we are talking about the Super Eagles here not the under 17.
Yes the Super Eagles lost against south Africa, but its not a death sentence as long as we can learn from it our dear Eagles can fly again.
Cheer up Eagles!!
We go again!!.Cheer up Eagles!!
We go again!!.
By Emmanuel Ndibe with contribution from Theophilus Agbonlahor
Edited by Cosmos Chukwuemeka