FEATURE ARTICLE

Sunday, July 21, 2019
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Belgium
AFCON 2019 POSTSCRIPT AND THE WAY FORWARD FOR THE SUPER EAGLES OF NIGERIA

he 2019 Nations' tournament has come and gone. We know the winners: the "Dessert Warriors" or the "Dessert Foxes" of Algeria. They won the final match against the Senegalese, not on account of superior soccer prowess, but on account of strategy! They used physical soccer, backed-up by solid mid-field and defensive organisation, to derail the smooth, free-flowing soccer of the Senegalese. The Senegalese coach, apparently, had no answer to the tactical organisation of the Algerians; and, thus, lost the final match to the Algerians. A very big congratulations to the Algerians and to their tactically sound coach!!!!!

Now back to the main focus of this article, the Super Eagles of Nigeria. The Nations' cup tournament has ended, it's now time for an appraisal of the Super Eagles' performance and of course suggestions on how to improve the team's performance for the coming challenges.

The Goalkeeping department: The Super Eagles are certainly 'thin' in this area! They have three goalkeepers who are not top keepers, but very average goalkeepers. Some of them show fundamental weaknesses in goalkeeping, that sometimes question their ability to man the post for first division club sides! For the coming challenges, and considering the Super Eagles' ambition: to be champions at AFCON 2021 and to do well at the 2022 World cup tournament, the Super Eagles certainly need top goalkeepers! In all three times the Super Eagles have won the AFCON tournament, they have done that with good goalkeepers! The technical crew should go to work in all earnest, in this regard, to search for top goalkeepers, in the local and foreign leagues! Yours sincerely, recommends the Flying Eagles' goalkeeper at the last Under-20 World cup competition.

The defence department: This needs to be further fine-tuned. A defence that concedes seven goals in seven matches, an average of one goal a match, is certainly not a tight defence! The problem doesn't lie in lack of talent in the present set of defenders, but in the lack of a constantly good defensive organisation! Sometimes the Super Eagles' defenders lose concentration; this proved nearly costly in the match against Cameroun, in the AFCON 2019, second round match! Another factor that weakens the Super Eagles' defensive organisation, is the penchant on the part of the Super Eagles players to pass the ball backwards to their own goal area, instead of passing the ball forward! This resulted in the first goal against Madagascar, in the 2019 AFCON. Also, the defensive mid-fielders, should watch out for their tackles very close to their own penalty box. These wild tackles resulted in two goals scored against Nigeria by South-Africa and the back-breaker against Algeria! Coach Rohr, needs to work on this and other weaknesses of the defence.

The mid-field department: This is the Achilles heel of the team!!!!!! In all matches the Super Eagles played at the AFCON, they lost control of the mid-field; as evidenced by having an inferior ball possession percentage! This problem in my considered opinion, comes about through: lack of sufficient creativity in mid-field, occasioned by lack of sufficient ball-jugglers and lack of a decent functioning of the mid-field, generally! The Super Eagles, traditionally, have this mid-field problem! However, the problem can be helped by: scouting for more creative mid-fielders and having sufficient players fall back into mid-field when the Super Eagles lose ball possession, regardless of the formation employed by the Super Eagles!

The offensive department: This was the most productive department at AFCON 2019! The Super Eagles scored nine goals, in seven matches. They could have scored more with a better mid-field department. The wingers were super, we have five of them, who are highly talented and would certainly get better with time: Ahmed Musa, Samuel Kalu, Simon Moses, Henry Onyekwuru and Samuel Chukwueze!

The centre- forward position, at the AFCON, was somewhat troubled, as Odion Ighalo, was way ahead of the substitutes, in terms of standards! Now he has decided to quit the Super Eagles, the problem becomes more complicated! Coach Rohr and the technical crew, should as a matter of urgency, scout for centre-forwards, and, hopefully, those selected will rise up to the occasion soonest!

In conclusion, the Super Eagles of Nigeria, have a bright future and can realise their immediate and long term ambitions, given the correct developmental environment!

UP SUPER EAGLES! UP NIGERIA !!!!!!!!!

Also at the link below, one can come into contact with a number of items, needed to support the Super Eagles at "EGYPT 2019" !!!!!

https://teespring.com/stores/super-eagles-of-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

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