|Thursday, January 25, 2024
he Super Eagles of Nigeria have qualified for the second round of the "2023 African Nations' cup tournament". They did it, certainly, not in style, but efficiently!
They certainly didn't play the best soccer, but were effective enough to go through to the next phase of the competition. We shall discuss more about their performance in the first round, in the concluding part of this piece.
They lined out in the encounter against the " Djurtus" of Guinea Bissau, in an unusual and 'flexible': 3-4-3 formation. That allowed for a smooth transition to a 5-4-1 formation, whenever the team was under pressure.
At the end of the day, they got the much- needed victory. A great deal of kudos to Coach Peseiro and the technical crew, and, of course, to the key actors- the Super Eagles players!
In the Super Eagles 3-4-3 formation, the following players lined-up for Nigeria:
Goalkeeper Nwabali, was in goal. He is certainly burgeoning to be Nigeria's number one goalkeeper, with his fine performances thus far. And, most especially, with his second consecutive clean sheet!
The central defenders were:
Semi Ajayi, alias "the gentleman giant", was the right-sided centre-half back, or right-half back;
Stand-in Skipper "Field marshall" Kenneth Omeruo, was the classical centre-half back and "The Kwinkling-tinkling" Calvin Bassey, was the left-sided central defender or the left-half back.
The mid-field consisted of:
Bright Osayi-Samuel, as right-sided defensive midfielder or right-sided wing back;
Ola Aina, was the left-sided defensive mid-fielder or left-sided wing back;
Frank Onyeaka, was the classical central mid-fielder and " The highly dynamic" Joe Aribo, was the central mid-fielder, with an offensive disposition.
The offensive armada consisted of:
Samuel Chukwueze, alias "El Fantastico", the right winger;
Simon Moses, alias "The Atilogwu dancer", the left winger and Victor Osimhen, alias " El Magnifico", the classical centre-forward.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria put up a fairly effective display from the beginning. But their opponents, were better in their mid-field display, and, thus, had a higher ball possession percentage. But for all of that advantage, they fell behind in the thirty-eight minute, courtesy of a dynamic left wing movement by Moses Simon, that resulted in their defender, mistakingly scoring against his own team, apparently under pressure/fear/intimidation, due to the presence of Victor Osimhen, who was lurking around him/ breathing down his neck!
The beautiful role played by some of the players in bringing about the Super Eagles' goal : "Field Marshall" Kenneth Omeruo, who gave the vital lobbed pass to Ola Aina; who in turn headed beautifully on to the path of Moses Simon, must be acknowledged!
The second half saw the Super Eagles raising their game a notch. This resulted in more goal scoring opportunities; which unfortunately were fluffed.
At the end of the game, the Super Eagles' objective was achieved: qualification for the second round of the "2023 African Nations' cup competition"!
Also a great deal of thanks to the substitute players:
Zaidu Sanusi; Chidozie Awaziem; Alex Iwobi, alias " The dancing Krekel"; Ademola Lookman and Raphael Onyedika. Like the regular players, they contributed significantly to the Super Eagles' victory!
In conclusion, yours sincerely makes these points, based on one's assessment of the team in the first round of matches :
There is a great necessity to defend well during the entire duration of a match! The defenders cannot afford to lose concentration for one second during the course of the game. In the match against Guinea Bissau, during the closing minutes of the encounter, the Super Eagles' defenders somewhat lost concentration, by overlapping massively in search of a second goal. This proved nearly costly, as the opponents took advantage of the rather 'thin' Super Eagles defence line to score a goal, that was fortunately disallowed for an infringement on a Super Eagles' defender.
The Super Eagles were wasteful in front of goal in the first round of matches:
They missed three open chances in the first game; missed two open chances in the second game and four open chances in the last group's match. If some of those opportunities were taken, Nigeria would have qualified for the second round as group's winners!
There is also a need to improve the Super Eagles' passing game. They often make faulty passes which aids and abets the opponent's game! Having been together for about three weeks, they should improve significantly in this aspect of their game.
There is the need to avoid stupid bookings that can be costly at this stage of the competition. The Super Eagles players having been exposed to the highest levels of the game, should be more mature with regards how they tackle opponents and how they comport themselves generally on the field of play. For example, being booked for "time-wasting", is childish! And tackling an opponent dangerously very close to the vital area, can be 'deadly', not only from the point of view of being booked, but also from the point of view of conceding a goal, through a well-taken spot kick ( penalty) or free-kick!
Like all Nigerians and the other Super Eagles fans, yours sincerely wishes the Super Eagles all the best in these crucial stages of the competition.
UP SUPER EAGLES! UP NIGERIA !!!!!!!