|Monday, April 1, 2019|
he score of Nigeria 1, Egypt 0, indeed typified the course of the match for the entire ninety minutes. It was a match, though exciting, but with very few clear cut chances created by both teams.
The Egyptians couldn't create much chances, save for two, because of the good defensive organisation of Nigeria.
The Nigerians on their part created about two chances, and took one of them. This is going to be the main subject of this article.
As yours sincerely stated in the last article, the Super Eagles of Nigeria, have problems with creativity in mid-field. This translates in the paucity of chances created by them, especially against tight-defending teams! This problem manifested itself in the match against the Egyptians. After the goal scored by Nigeria, Egypt further tightened their defensive organisation, and the chances never came the way of Nigeria again! Notwithstanding the sometimes superior ball possession of the Super Eagles, they never gave creative passes in the final third of the Egyptian vital area!
A more creative Super Eagles' mid-field, would have created more chances against an experimental Egyptian side, with likely more goals for the Super Eagles to boot. The young man and centre-forward, Paul Onuachu, would have scored more goals for Nigeria. He was sharp enough on that day, but lacked the necessary creative supplies from mid-field. As a consequence, the Egyptian defenders, easily "policed" him! That notwithstanding, he still showed his class as a striker. Yours sincerely will write more about him, in the later part of the article.
The consequences of not having a sufficiently creative mid-field, at the Nations' cup tournament, as well as the panacea to the problem, have been clearly stated in the earlier article titled: "Super Eagles of Nigeria win their Nations' cup group" : https://nigeriaworld.com/feature/publication/nwokeji/032419.html.
It is now left to the coaches to do the right thing for the Super Eagles of Nigeria!
Talking about the players, they gave their best effort! The defensive organisation was solid. Save for two chances, the Egyptians never threatened the Super Eagles, notwithstanding their sometimes superior ball possession. The chances they created were smothered by the Super Eagles' defender: Leon Balogun, who recovered to prevent a likely goal; and Goalkeeper Ike Ezenwa, whose goalkeeping heroics, certainly prevented a likely Egyptian equaliser. Goalkeeper Ezenwa, has proved once again that he deserves to be part of the national team set up! Goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi, also proved himself.
The fact that the Super Eagles held on to their only goal, scored in the very first minute of play, further attests to their solid defensive organisation! A back four that was marshalled by Stand-in Skipper, William Troost Ekong, alias "Rock of Gibralter." And of course ably supported in the heart of the defence by "Commander-General" Leon Balogun, who showed no match rustiness whatsoever, considering the fact he has been on the side lines in his club for some time, no thanks to injury. Of course the full backs : Shehu Abdullahi, alias "Man O' War", and Jamilu Collins, also proved themselves, as first choice fullbacks for Nigeria.
The three-man mid-field, did their best . The defensive mid-field, was solid, the pair of : Wilfred Ndidi, alias "baggy bagger", and John Ogu, were good on that day! The creative mid-fielder, Alex Iwobi, alias the "dancing Krekel", individually, did his best, but collectively, the Super Eagles team was not sufficiently creative!
The offensive front was somewhat 'robbed' of their full offensive capabilities no thanks to the creative problem in mid-field. However, the attackers, individually, showed their class.
Simon Moses, alias "the Atilogwu dancer," on the left wing, was as usual in his elements, particularly, in the first half; 'dancing', constantly putting his opponents on the wrong footing, with his fantastic body swerves!!!!! Which is the reason yours sincerely gave him his nickname!
Henry Onyekuru, was super, particularly, in the second half. He is a much- improved player. His loan spells from his parent club Everton of England, have done him a world of good. He is now a much better player. Little wonder Everton wants him back to the Premier League, next season. His dribbling skills are quintessential! He has the audacity to take on the defenders, no matter how many of them come to him at any particular time! The way and manner he skillfully took out two Egyptian defenders who came to tackle him at the same time, in the second half, was and is still baffling to your sincerely, a soccer connoisseur of over forty years experience!!!!!
Paul Onuachu, in his second game for Nigeria, has certainly shown his qualities! While admitting the fact it is still early days to judge what kind of player he could be for the Super Eagles, one must confess he was impressive in the game against Egypt. He showed good predatory instincts, he was sharp, he was quick on the ball, he had lots of dribbling skills. He is apparently not an opportunistic centre-forward. The goal he scored was certainly not an opportunistic one. He skilfully took out an Egyptian defender, before making hay!!!!!!. Above all, he is a team player!
In conclusion, the Super Eagles have started their build -up for "Egypt 2019", well. Let's hope this momentum is sustained.
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