The first of the back-to-back friendly games between Nigeria and Cameroon took place on Friday, with the Cameroonians prevailing on the night.
Andre Anguissa’s strike in the 39th minute was all the Indomitable Lions needed to secure just their fifth win and their first since 2000 against Nigeria.
The Fulham midfielder capitalised on a loose ball from William Troost-Ekong before firing a shot just from outside the box past Maduka Okoye.
It’s a disappointing result for the Super Eagles, given they were the better team on Friday night. On the balance of play, the three-time African deserved at least a draw.
However, they were profligate in front of goal, while the Cameroonian goalkeeper Omossola also denied them on several occasions.
The three-time African champions have a chance to gain revenge when the two sides meet again on Tuesday, but before then, Soccernet reviews some of the talking points from the first clash.
Same old Rohr: In fairness to him, Rohr did not have an ideal preparation for the game after six key players withdrew from the squad.
The German tactician was denied the services of regulars like Leon Balogun, Joe Aribo, Victor Osimhen and Zaidu Sanusi.
Still, it gave Rohr the opportunity to try out new players. However, the former Bordeaux manager stuck with the same old guards when he named his lineup and did not make a change until the 66th minute.
It’s another strange decision from Rohr. The 67-year-old had confirmed the two games would allow him to see new faces, which is why his decision not to make changes early is surprising.
It’s even hard to fathom, given the team was trailing and the players up front were missing chances. The former Burkina Faso coach should have brought on Terem Moffi earlier than the 66th minute while his introduction of Anayo Iwuala is late.
Rohr has come under criticism for his questionable decisions in recent Super Eagles games, and the latest one shows the 67-year-old is not likely to change for anybody.
Onuachu impresses but fails to take his chance: Onuachu was Nigeria’s best player in the just-concluded European club football season.
The 27-year-old scored a massive 33 goals for Genk to finish as the top scorer in the Belgian League. However, despite his exploits at club level, he has never been Rohr’s favourite.
Although he scored in the win over Benin and Lesotho back in March, he was only introduced as a substitute in both games.
But with Osimhen out, Onuachu had his chance to convince Rohr to hand him more playing time. He impressed but did not do enough.
Nigeria’s first real chance of the game fell into his path, but his header was beaten away by Omossola in Cameroon’s goal. His hold-up play wasn’t bad either.
However, he failed to do the most important thing, which is to score. Onuachu got into promising positions but fluffed his lines both in the opening and second half before he was taken off for Moffi.
And with the Super Eagles well-stocked in the attacking department, Onuachu may have missed his chance to start more games.
Ndidi is a future captain: Ahmed Musa is the team’s current captain, while Ekong is the vice-captain. Musa is no longer a starter in the team, which means Ekong leads the team out in games.
Friday’s clash was no different, but there’s another player that may challenge Ekong for the captaincy when Musa retires, and that’s Wilfred Ndidi.
The Leicester City star was one of the few players that impressed on Friday night, but aside from his performance, Ndidi also showed his leadership qualities.
The 24-year-old was not afraid of getting into challenges, but more importantly, he was vocal, shouting at his teammates for not doing more.
These are captains qualities, and Ndidi showed that on Friday night.
Iwobi underperforms once again: It’s time Rohr considers dropping Iwobi from the starting lineup after another below-par performance.
The Everton winger played on the flanks but never really threatened the Tchamba, neither did he impose himself on the game.
In a match where Nigeria needed a little bit of creativity, Iwobi struggled- even though he did not play in his preferred role.
He has been a regular in the starting lineup since he made his debut, but it’s time Rohr looks for better options as the former Arsenal star has been struggling recently.
More injury problems: Rohr’s decision not to make substitutions early has cost him another two players. The Super Eagles will be without two players for the second clash against Cameroon.
Ekong went off late in the game and was replaced by Valentine Ozonwafor, who made his debut. Also, Jamilu Collins picked up a knock, leaving Nigeria without a natural left-back for Tuesday’s encounter.
These injuries will force the Super Eagles to change tactics on Tuesday, with the team likely to go three at the back.
Meanwhile, Terem Moffi should also get his first start, while Francis Uzoho is likely to come in to replace Maduka Okoye in goal.