he score of Nigeria 0, Serbia 2, was most unexpected. The least Nigerians expected from that match was a draw. But helaas , the Super Eagles lost the match !
What went wrong in that match for Nigeria ? Me thinks the following factors were responsible :
Firstly, the Super Eagles' mid-field like in the game against Poland, lacked balance and creativity !;
Secondly, the Super Eagles sometimes exhibited some sloppy defending !
We shall expantiate further on these factors during the analyses on the players' performance.
How did the players rate in that match?
- Goalkeeper Francis Uzoho : In my considered opinion, did well. He made no mistakes for all of ninety minutes. He saved Nigeria from even a more embarrassing defeat. The goals he conceded, could have been conceded by any goalkeeper. He gets 7/10 from yours sincerely.
- Tyronne Ebuehi, at right back, was average. While he exhibited by moments his flowery, quintessential overlapping runs, he also showed his defensive frailties, while defending his line. The Serbians exploited the weakness in his defensive ability to launch incessant attacks from his position. That way the Nigerian defence was constantly put in trouble. He gets 5/10.
- Bryan Idowu, at left back, was slightly above average. He defended well, but his overlapping runs were few and far between. One rates him at 6/10.
- William Troost -Ekong, at centre-half back, was ok on an individual basis; but as libero couldn't galvanise the defenders to defend well collectively. This lack of decent collective defensive ability, was one of the Super Eagles' weak points in the match ! He gets 6/10.
- Chidozie Awaziem, at left-half back, was also ok on an individual basis, but couldn't defend well collectively. He gets 6/10.
- Skipper Ogenyi Onazi, at defensive mid-field, was ok with regards footballing ability; but the ball recuperation ability was not optimal. This was one of the reasons the Serbians were dangerous in an offensive thrust. He gets 5.5/10
- Wilfred Ndidi, defensive mid-field: The same sentiments expressed in the case of Ogenyi Onazi, also apply to him. He gets 5.5/10.
- Joel Obi, at offensive mid-field, gets 6/10. On an individual basis he was ok ; but collectively he was below standards. This mainly accounted for the lack of balance in the Super Eagles' mid-field ; also his creativity was insufficient. The above deficiencies can be explained by his four- year absence from the Super Eagles' set up. Some of his potentially creative moves or passes, were misunderstood by his team mates !
A John Mikel Obi in the team that played Serbia, would have used his wealth of experience to change the tempo of the Super Eagles' game, somewhat slowed it down at a time the Super Eagles' players as a consequence of their fast approach to the game, were making many faulty passes; to the advantage of the Serbians ! Having slowed down the game, the Super Eagles' players would have played better, combined better and John Mikel Obi would have used the opportunity to unleash his creative prowess and liberated the attackers with fine defensive- splitting passes !
The above analysis of the Super Eagles' mid-field, is not an indictment of Joel Obi's performance, rather a way of encouraging him to up his game for the Super Eagles. Hopefully with a number of matches, his integration in the team would be completed.
Coach Rohr, used three strikers in his 4-3-3 formation :
- Victor Moses, was average. He gets 5/10;
- Ahmed Musa, was average for all of ninety minutes. He also gets 5/10. One sincerely hopes the Ahmed Musa of yore, would bounce back to reckoning before the world cup;
- Alex Iwobi, gets 6.5/10. He was one of the better players. Me thinks Alex Iwobi's best position in team, would be as an offensive mid-fielder, a "number 10", playing behind the strikers. In that position, he would unleash the depth of his quintessential skills to create openings for the strikers!
- Odion Ighalo, gave a very good account of himself, and was unlucky not to have scored. He did very well to put pressure on the Serbian defence, apparently, as he was instructed by Coach Rohr;
- Simon Moses, had very little impact in the game;
- John Ogu, did his best as defensive mid-fielder;
- Ola Aina, didn't have much time to prove himself;
- Mike Agu, didn't have much time either ;
- Junior Ajayi, also came very late into the game to have an impact.
In conclusion, the defeat of the Super Eagles by the Serbians, was quite revealing ! Coach Rohr, will now make the necessary analyses from that match with a view to making the necessary re-adjustments before the next friendly match against Republic of Congo, on the 28th of May.
Nigerians should not make the mistake of tearing the team apart with negative criticisms, as a consequence of this defeat . Rather the boys should be continuously encouraged with constructive criticisms aimed at getting the best out of them. Nigerians should remember that in the words of Coach Rohr : the Super Eagles of Nigeria is still work in progress ! Nigerians should be patient with the team, regardless of the expectations.
Yours sincerely believes in these Super Eagles !
"Anyi bu nkwa " !
" Iseeeeeeehhhh " !!!!!!!
UP SUPER EAGLES ! UP NIGERIA !!!!!!