The first leg of the World Cup qualifiers between the two African giants ended in a stalemate, and the team captain has revealed the reasons behind the Super Eagles’ below-par display
Super Eagles vice-captain William Troost-Ekong has offered several reasons behind the national team’s incoherent display against Ghana on Friday.
In front of over 40,000 boisterous Ghanaian fans inside the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi, Ghana dominated. Still, Nigeria held on for a draw to gain a slight advantage in the playoff for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Nigerian football legend Austin Okocha has already admitted that the away draw is a fair result.
But Troost-Ekong, who skippered the team with captain Ahmed Musa left on the bench, says the Eagles found it challenging to play their game because of the nature of the Baba Yara pitch.
The Watford defender also revealed that Ghana’s tactical set-up against Victor Osimhen showed the Black Stars were afraid of the Napoli hitman.
Osimhen had scored a brace in each of his last two games in the Italian Serie A before reporting for international duty on Monday.
But Africa’s most expensive signing barely had a sniff of the Ghanaian goal partly due to poor service and partly because he was often double-marked.
Ekong, however, insists the most significant lesson the Eagles must take away from Kumasi is that of being clinical in front of goal. Rangers Joe Aribo and Nantes Moses Simon were guilty of spurning the few chances that came the way of the three-time Afcon kings.
“It was difficult for the guys. The pitch did not help; it was a dry pitch,” Troost-Ekong said at his post-match press conference.
“They sometimes struggled to move the ball quickly. But I think it was great work from Ghana, but I think everybody was quite scared of Victor [Osimhen]. They were two against one most of the time [against him].
“We have learned from today; we need to be more clinical and against a good team like Ghana. When you get one or two chances, you have to score, or else you cannot win the game.”
The Super Eagles have since returned to Abuja, where the second leg of their double-header against the Black Stars will take place.
Nigeria will book at Qatar 2022, scheduled for November/December this year, with a victory of any margin.