The Super Eagles are through to the quarterfinals of the Africa Cup of Nations, defeating the Indomitable Lions in a five goal thriller.
Soccernet x-rays the lessons the team can pick to do even better in the latter stages of the competition.
1. Nigeria deserve better than Rohr.
The Nigeria manager’s time is up.
With a bunch of young, hungry and talented players at his disposal, the former Niger Republic coach has failed to deliver the good football the team is capable of.
After three years at the helm, Rohr’s team still lacks cohesion and is devoid of tactical discipline. The round of qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup is around the corner and a competent, world-class manager who can take this beautiful team to the next level should be in charge.
2. Chukwueze needs to start games
Moses Simon has started three of Nigeria’s four games at the AFCON, operating as the side’s right winger and assist provider. Yet his record still reads 0 goals, 0 assists.
A fine manager would have tried other options with Villareal attacker Chukwueze able to operate as a dynamic No 7.
3. The Defense Needs A Lot Of Work
Any defense line that conceeds two goals in three minutes is doing a lot of things poorly.
Troost-Ekong has been a calm influence but his communication with his centre-half partner gas to improve, with Kenneth Omeruo sometimes prone to the odd loss of concentration.
The Spain-based defender was at fault for Cameroon’s first goal but he has shown enough potential to indicate that under the right guidance, he will flourish for the Super Eagles for a long time.
4. Daniel Akpeyi is not fit to be Number 1
It’s a miracle that Nigeria only conceded two. The shot-stopper was jittery, lacked composure and was never in control of his box.
A good goaltender should bail his team out of trouble but everytime the Super Eagles have needed him, the South Africa-based custodian has failed to rise to the occasion.
He has not simply not impressed many at this tournament. Uzoho may not be the answer but Nigeria needs a new No 1.
5. Odion Ighalo is Built for African Football
The striker was uninspiring at the World Cup but two well-taken goals and a fine assist for the winner showed that Ighalo is totally at home when playing on the continent.
He was the top scorer during the qualifiers, his hat-trick against Seychelles the highlight of that round.
His three goals has catapulted him to the top of the goal-scoring chart and more of the same will be needed for the Super Eagles to get to the latter stages of the Africa Cup of Nations.