|Sunday, March 24, 2019|
he 3-1 defeat of soccer "minnows" Seychelles confirms the Super Eagles top most position and of course their superiority in their Nations' cup qualifying group. It further makes the point that the unexpected 2-0 loss to South-Africa, in the opening match of the Nations' cup qualifying series, was a fluke or rather an "accident", which sometimes happens not only in soccer, but in life generally!
The Super Eagles reacted well to that initial loss and have consequently gotten another Nations' cup ticket, after two successive failed attempts.
How did the Super Eagles fare in the match-up against the Seychelles?
Yours sincerely saw a Super Eagles' coach that used the match essentially as the beginning of preparations for the 2019 Nations cup competition. He lined up an essentially Super Eagles' first team; with the aim of making them play together after a four month break! The outcome of the match, even before the kick-off, was not in doubt. Coach Rohr, used the game to kick start the 2019 Nations' cup preparations, by increasing the team's chemistry or rather blending of the team.
In the match, the Super Eagles of Nigeria, was as expected, the dominant team. They exhibited lots of skills and confidence; and were not troubled by the Seychelles for virtually all of ninety minutes. The goal scored by Seychelles was as a result of some goalkeeping "mix-up", which they opportunistically took advantage of; and not through some deft tactical/technical break-down of the Super Eagles' defensive organisation.
The Super Eagles' superior offensive power resulted in the penalty goal scored by Odion Ighalo; and also in the second and third goals scored by Henry Onyekuru and Simon Moses respectively.
Like as earlier stated, the Super Eagles superiority was not in doubt. However, as a Super Eagles' connoisseur, one must hasten to point out certain deficiencies and of course strong points of the team.
The defensive organisation was solid. The offensive front was super, but could not fully exhibit their potentials, no thanks to the rather relatively "smaller" playing soccer pitch of the "Stephen Keshi" stadium. That smaller soccer pitch didn't allow the Super Eagles of Nigeria to fully spread their wings, and, consequently, made it easier for the Seychelles' defensive organisation, to trouble the Super Eagles' offensive power!
In future competitive matches, the NFF, should make sure the Super Eagles play their home matches on a soccer pitch that is bigger, that would allow the Super Eagles spread their wings maximally; a typical Super Eagles' offensive characteristic! When the Super Eagles cannot spread their wings maximally, their offensive impulses are limited; like we saw in the game against the Seychelles, in Asaba, and also against Uganda, in the same stadium!
One must hasten to add that the Super Eagles' mid-field or rather the functioning or the functionality of the Super Eagles' mid-field, is not yet optimal. Coach Rohr, started a new experimental mid-field balance, after the 2018 World cup, with Alex Iwobi, as the lynch pin. This mid-field organisation is not working optimally. Their deficiency lies in their creative ability! It has difficulties breaking down tough and compact-playing defensive organisations. Like we also saw against the Ugandan national team, in Asaba, in November, 2018. At the Nations' cup competition, the Super Eagles would come up against tougher, more-compact, tighter and better defensive-oriented teams, that would give the Super Eagles a hell of a time.
The need for a much improved mid-field organisation, particularly, in the creative department, would definitely be a "condition sin qua non", to advance to the critical stages of the competition; and certainly to win it! In this wise, one notices the absence of a major link in the Super Eagles' mid-field puzzle. That missing link is the team's Skipper: John Mikel Obi! Coach Rohr, should call-up the Skipper, by the time the Super Eagles assemble again in May. Unless the Skipper doesn't want to play for the Super Eagles, he is very much needed in the Super Eagles! With regards his fitness, yours sincerely believes he is fit. His performance in the English league, proves this point! He has certainly, somewhat, passed his prime in soccer, but still has sufficient experience to help the Super Eagles of Nigeria, at least, at one more tournament: the 2019 African Nations' cup competition!!!!!!
A Super Eagles team without Skipper John Mikel Obi and Victor Moses, would be highly compromised with regards chances of success in Egypt!!!!!
In conclusion, contrary to Coach Rohr's claim that the Super Eagles are not favourites for the 2019 Nations' cup competition, Nigerians certainly don't agree with him. Anything less than the trophy would hardly satisfy Nigerians. As the title of my earlier article stated: "AFCON 2019 is winnable for the Super Eagles of Nigeria", RL: https://nigeriaworld.com/feature/publication/nwokeji/010719.html
Nigerians indeed believe it is winnable!
UP SUPER EAGLES ! UP NIGERIA!!!!!
The book "Super Eagles of Nigeria : Pride of Africa", can also be gotten through the author. One can contact the author through : [email protected] Please note in this case, payment of postage costs will be necessary