FEATURE ARTICLE

Saturday, October 24, 2020
Nwokeji.cyril@gmail.com
Belgium
AN IMPROVEMENT IN THE SUPER EAGLES PERFORMANCE AGAINST TUNISIA, BUT
here was indeed an improvement in the Super Eagles performance against Tunisia, but this fact notwithstanding, there are still yawning aspects of their performance that need improvement. We shall discuss these in the concluding part of this piece.

The Super Eagles no doubt were determined to do battle with the Tunisians, who like wise gave the Super Eagles the battle of their lives. The hostilities between the two teams made the match look more like a competitive game than a friendly encounter!

Yours sincerely saw the Super Eagles performance thus:

Coach Rohr played in a 3-5-2 formation, apparently, to counter the expected mid-field dominance of the Tunisians; and, also to bring the defensive, mid-field and offensive lines closer together and in co-operation with one another, to ensure the Super Eagles presented a solid block that would be difficult to undermine. He succeed to a large extent !

Goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, has burgeoned to be at the moment, Nigeria's number 1 keeper! He put up a five-star performance in the two friendlies, and, gives us hope that the Super Eagles goalkeeping problems may have been solved! Kudos to him !!!!!!

The defensive line showed slight improvement from the performance against Algeria.

The three-man defence had at right-half back: Kevin Ufuoma Akpoguma, who in the two matches he has so far played for Nigeria, has proved he is worthy to be a Super Eagle. One must however point out that the goal scored by the Tunisians came from his side of defence. While not blaming him, one must point out that vigilance at all times is needed in a defender's defensive responsibilities!

"Field marshall" Kenneth Omeruo, was good at centre -half back. He was the defence marshal and did a good job of it. However, the goal scored by Tunisia, came partly as a consequence of his being beaten by the Tunisian offensive mid-fielder: Hamza Rafia, the cousin of my Tunisian friend!

"Commander- General" Leon Balogun, at left-half back, was good on that day.

By concentrating five players in mid-field, he gave the Tunisians a run for their money, in an area they are very good in, with their bundle of skills and quick, sleeky movements!

Oluwasemilogo Ajayi, at right-sided defensive mid-field, was good. He did the defensive and ball-winning duties well; and also gave good passes to the team mates. One must confess he is a different defensive mid-fielder than Wilfred Ndidi, who with all due respects, is a better footballing defensive mid-fielder.

Zaidi Sanusi, at left-sided defensive mid-field, was good; and improved on his game against Algeria. He has apparently played himself into the Super Eagles team.

Samuel Chukwueze, alias "El Fantastico", at right-sided offensive mid-field, put up a much-improved performance in comparison with his efforts against Algeria.

Simon Moses, alias "The Atilogwu dancer", at left-sided offensive mid-field, was good.

Alex Iwobi, alias "The dancing Krekel", was the central cum creative mid-fielder. He was as it were, the commander-general of the Super Eagles' mid-field, the 'general overseer', the mid-field co-ordinator/ - supremo! And he did his job with dexterity! And has already started walking in the illustrious footsteps of his legendary uncle: the great Austin "Jay-Jay" Okocha. Kudos to him !!!!!!

The Supersonic jet-heeled Skipper Ahmed "Mansa" Musa, who was one half of the offensive duo, was good, particularly in the first half. His efforts resulted in the penalty, which was unfortunately fluffed. This makes the point about taking our opportunities, in this case penalties. A missed penalty can make a difference between winning and losing a game! While not blaming the taker of the missed penalty, one is however using this medium to call on Coach Rohr, to further sharpen this aspect of the Super Eagles' performance!

The "Predaciously predacious" Kelechi Iheanacho, put up a five-star performance! And has certainly played himself back into the team. The goal he scored was a classical case of superb marksmanship! It was by no means opportunistic. He cleverly and craftly meandered his way through two defenders to make hay for Nigeria! Kudos to him !!!!!

The substitute: Chidera Ejuke , through his exhibition of deft skills for the minutes he played, told Coach Rohr in unmistakeably clear terms, he possess the skills to be a permanent member of the Super Eagles of Nigeria !

In conclusion, as earlier stated, the Super Eagles played better, but there are yawning areas of their performance that need improvement:

The defence still shows lapses in it's organisation. The goal scored by Tunisia came about mainly because the Super Eagles were not massively present in their vital area to cover-up for the lapses of Kevin Akpguma and Kenneth Omeruo! In other words, they gave away unnecessary space to the Tunisians in their 'holiest of holy' places!!!!!! Any player can be beaten to the ball, but the beauty of team play, is the ability to cover-up for one another. This requires enormous mobility on the part of the players, more especially, against a team that quickly counter-attacks like the Tunisians!

Secondly, the Super Eagles need to improve their passing game! This requires playing more and efficiently as a team! Using long balls alone to disorganise an opponent, does not always work out. Against the Algerians it didn't work. A decent measure of passing game : keeping the ball on the ground and moving it around quickly and efficiently can disrupt even the most well-knit defensive organisation! This to me is even more efficient in breaking than an opponent's defensive organisation than the use of long balls. However, the Super Eagles can use a combination of the two methods to achieve success! In other words, team work is sine qua non to the success of any team in soccer!

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 : nwokeji.cyril@gmail.com Please note in this case, payment of postage costs will be necessary

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