Super Eagles attacker, Odion Ighalo
By Toritseju
players are enjoying a stellar 2016 so far with Kelechi Iheanacho making the
headlines for Manchester City, Victor Moses finally earning a place in Chelsea
and Brown Ideye scoring his first Career hat trick.
also seem to be going on so well for the defenders as well looking at Troost
Ekong and Leon Balogun also establishing themselves in their respective clubs
also have lots of young players doing very well all around the world like
Simon who was in the champions league last season, Sadiq Umar signing a big
deal with Italian Giants AS Roma not forgetting Kelechi Nwakali and Taiwo
Awoniyi who also got good deals.
likes of Odion Ighalo, Ahmed Musa, Isaac Success and John Mikel Obi cannot be
ignored but the big question is “with all these talented players why don’t
Nigeria have a super “Super Eagles”
don’t we ever see this quality translated to the national team?
The statistics
Super Eagles captain Ahmed Musa joined EPL champions Leicester City in the
summer but he might just be a perfect example looking at his club and
international records
season Musa scored 17 goals in 40 games for CSKA Moscow the team’s top scorer,
celebrated and exalted but compare that to Nigeria where the Pacey winger has
managed just 11 goals in his 6 year stay, an average of about 1 goal every 6
games compared to last season’s 1 in 2.3.
Ighalo is a beast for Watford averaging 1 goal just over every 2 games but for
the Super Eagles he has managed just 3 goals and looks isolated up front in the
green jersey
not just about the goals, it’s about the performance generally as Arsenal
youngster Alex Iwobi makes things happen for the north London outfit but isn’t
so influential in his native colours
Why are they club
heroes and country zeroes?
never easy to bring players from different leagues and fit in the different
pieces of the jigsaw puzzle in a few days expecting to be picture perfect.
talented bunch might not have the needed team chemistry to be world beaters
at captain John Obi Mikel for example, the midfield dynamo held the hopes of
Nigerians for years on end to fill in the boots of midfield king, Austin Jay
Jay Okocha.
Mikel plays and trains with Chelsea most of the 365 days the year has to offer
and he isn’t played in a role that allows him express himself so much so isn’t
it asking too much to expect him to come to the national team and in about five
training sessions change from the mindset of an inhibitor to that of a
catalyst? I think it is.
Spanish are known for their quick circulation and stinginess in possession,
passing the ball around until their opponent are dizzy and this isn’t learned in
3 or 4 training sessions.
is a tradition, a religion that has been tattooed in the impressionable mind of
the raw talents of academy players ask around their country
have endless work horses, who are a lot more direct and physical but very
tactical…. They also have this registered in their minds as how football
should be played
might say these teams have world class players but let’s take a look at the
the most star studded bunch, mainly new players in the whole team but look at
their exploits in the last 3 Euros, they have a philosophy they use as the bedrock
of all their tactics a definite approach to the game

Nigeria has many talented players who play for top teams who hold the ball and
build up patiently with the ball at the ground but coming to the national team
the players have to switch to long balls even in the absence of a big man up
has evolved over the years and Nigeria has been left behind
a plan B, it seems the system is “if the long balls aren’t working, try
better long balls” and that is not a plan B.
ago, it was mooted on social media that the Super Eagles coaches, from Stephen
Keshi to Sunday Oliseh and then Samson Siasia should have a word with
Musa’s coach at CSKA Moscow to find out hidden things about him.
come he plays every well for his club and scores well too but is almost
incompetent at the national team?
same applies to Odion Ighalo who runs around like a headless chicken at the
national team but is the messiah at Watford?
same could be said of Brown Ideye who averaged two goals in five games at his
time at Dynamo Kiev but found it difficult scoring for the Super Eagles.
the new man in charge Gernot Rohr, you might have your work cut out for you.
might find out that you didn’t bargain for a lot of issues that might come up (but
then again you submitted copies of your contract to FIFA) so I guess you have
an idea.
to get this team clicking ahead of the World Cup Qualifiers you might have to
Pick out a squad you can work with
Play players in the positions they play for their clubs week in, week out
Please eliminate the predictable long ball strategies, or at least come up with
a plan B that isn’t “Modified Plan A”
Odion Ighalo does not thrive as the lone striker in a team, he may consider
pairing him with someone else (the twin striker formation), maybe Brown Ideye
who or Kelechi Iheanacho.
Musa could be played on the left as we saw against Argentina at the World Cup
as he has pace and once he cuts in he could beat the best keepers but on the
right his crosses could be pretty poor
Moses could do well on the right as his ability to beat players and deliver
crosses will be useful to the team.
think it is simple. Players will be more at home playing the way they do at
their clubs while at their country because, they train with their clubs every
day of the week and play weekly in those positions.
national team is just four training sessions before games unless at a tournament,
isn’t it?
players thrive for their clubs playing in a particular position and a
particular style, something that changes when they come back home, so Gernot
Rohr must as a matter of urgency look into it.
while we are at improvising on these, we could throw in some beautiful
cheerleaders to give the players that gladiatorial feeling of not wanting to
“fall their hands” in the presence of cute women.



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