Nigeria 3 Vs 1 Seychelles: Super Eagles showed lots of familiar flaws -


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Sunday, 24 March 2019

Nigeria 3 Vs 1 Seychelles: Super Eagles showed lots of familiar flaws

Football as a sport is hardly par for the course although it does have some moments of ingenuity and mediocrity that can be predictable. Two of the world’s best players Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are always expected to function in astounding compasses while same can’t be foretold of many other players.
Super Eagles of Nigeria flattered ti deceive with a 3-1 win over Seychelles (Twitter/GovIfeanyiOkowa)

The thrill of waiting to see the brilliance of top players and teams is always revelling, a sharp contrast to the twiddling of one's thumbs in anxiety to watch mediocre players and team.

Fans and enthusiasts who follow the Super Eagles are in danger of being forced to contend with the latter scenario if the team do not improve. And judging by the run-of-the-mill game against Seychelles which they won 3-1 in Asaba on Friday, March 22, corrections are badly needed.

The 3-1 win over Seychelles in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier was a game where the Super Eagles showed several familiar flaws.

From the goalkeeper to the midfield to attack, Gernot Rohr’s plans and visions for this team still continue to elude many.

Francis Uzoho was supposed to be Super Eagles long-term number one goalkeeper, even Rohr still believes he is, but more than one year after his debut and one major tournament after, the Imo State-born goalkeeper is yet to answer questions asked of him.

It was his horrendous error-spilling a free kick in the path of Rody Melanie who poked home- that gave Seychelles their only goal of the game. The mistake raised the question of how good he really is again.

Since his debut for the Super Eagles in November 2017, the goalkeeper has now played 12 games without any stand-out impact.

The first choice goalkeepers before him have saved the Super Eagles come points. Carl Ikeme ensured Nigeria started their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign with a 2-1 win away at Zambia in October 2016 with some fantastic saves while the Super Eagles were able to get a point away at Cameroon in September 2017 because of Ikechukwu Ezenwa.

12 matches later, Uzoho is yet to shut up critics who are increasing by the day.

The Alex Iwobi in the No. 10 role also did not work on the day. In midfield Iwobi laboured all day, failing to connect with any of the forwards. The idea was there, but he was lacking in execution.

The game against Seychelles was another chance for him in the No. 10 role, but it wasn’t a smooth day for him. The Arsenal man had lots of stray passes and he lost possession a couple of times.

There are still problems in left-back where Jamilu Collins remains unconvincing. He is not tenacious in defence neither is he electric going forward. He’s lacking with the two abilities that make a good left-back so how is he supposed to be the long-term solution in that role.

It wasn’t, however, all gloom for the Super Eagles, Rohr started Nigeria’s two most inform central defenders and they didn’t disappoint. William Troost-Ekong showed how much he has improved while Kenneth Omeruo has garnered enough consistent to make him an important player for the national team again.

There was also vim and verve in the midfield partnership of Wilfred Ndidi and Oghenekaro Etebo that was pleasing.

But in totality, the 3-1 flattered the Super Eagles who were flat on the day. It is also likely that they didn’t raise their performances because of the level of opposition and with nothing much to play for.
They play Egypt in a friendly on Tuesday and all eyes will be on them to see how they fare.

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