By Augustine Akhilomen
Former Super Eagles midfielder, Mutiu Adepoju has warned the duo of Kenneth Omeruo and Elderson Echiejile to step up their game or face losing their shirts in the team.
Both players were on the pitch from start to finish as the Super Eagles conquered the Desert Foxes of Algeria 3-1 on Saturday at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier to maintain their spot at the top of group B.
Omeruo had a not too impressive performance against Zambia, where his sloppy defending allowed the hosts to reduce the deficit to 2-1 in Ndola couple with the fact that against Algeria he was out of position, allowing Yacine Brahimi to dazzle from the flank.
However, Echiejile who often fail in his defensive responsibility, had a decent performance against Algeria, neutralising Riyad Mahrez from making incursion into the team’s 18-yard box.
With the World Cup qualifier set to resume on August 28, 2017, the headmaster, as he was fondly known during his playing time, said to Soccernet.com.ng that Omeruo and Echiejile must work on their defensive lapses in order to help the team’s quest of qualifying for the main event.
“There is no doubt that the Super Eagles are beginning to look like a team ready to take on the rest of Africa and the world at large with their impressive football. This isn’t a matter of over blowing their trumpets but then, when a team does well, you must appreciate them,” Adepoju told Soccernet.com.ng.
“However, the only lapses I think the team must work on is the defensive duo of Kenneth Omeruo and Elderson Echiejile because they give me cause for concern. You could see the Algerians making use of Omeruo’s poor positioning to pressure the Super Eagles defence but we are so lucky that they never converted the slighted goal scoring opportunities they had in that encounter.
“As for Echiejile, I am not really too worried about him but he has to improve on his marking ability. In fact, both players must buckle up their shoes before the team’s next qualifier against Cameroon on August 28,2017. The defence line is very crucial for a team to achieve their purpose as far as winning a game is concerned in football,” he said.