Nigeria’s
Super Eagles may have beaten Seychelles 3-1 in their final qualifying
game for the AFCON 2019, but possibly only the goalscorers on the day
would have gone home happy with the performance of the team
The
score line was as flattering as it gets for a game that could well be
the worst in terms of performance that the Eagles have had in a long
time.
It
was a painstaking effort, but here are five things from the game that
we should not be proud of.
1. Uzoho is still very
suspect
Francis
Uzoho remains Nigeria’s first choice keeper but it is either Rohr is
stubborn about using him or the goalkeeper is actually a one eyed man
in the land of the blind. Uzoho has hardly impressed in the Super
Eagles jersey as the battle cry had been his age and how he would
grow into the role. He has also been somewhat lucky in the twelve or
so games he has played for the Eagles.
As a
goalkeeper, he does not exude confidence, he has little control over
his back line, he flaps at crosses and has no confidence controlling
his goal area. The goal Nigeria conceded against Seychelles had
always been an accident waiting to happen.
Uzoho
should not have conceded that goal, it seemed he did not know whether
to punch or catch an innocuous ball that came to him.
Spin
his performance as much as we want, but by the time Rohr/ Uzoho are
finished with the National Team, the goalkeeper may just own the
dubious reputation of being the worst person the man the sticks for
Nigeria on a regular basis since Ndubuisi Egbo in the early
noughties. For now he is the first choice, but he needs to make
Nigerians believe in him. He did not exactly cover himself in glory
against Seychelles.
2. It was a boring,
very boring fixture
I am
still trying to go back to a Super Eagles game that was this boring.
A journalist actually slept off at the media tribune. At the start
of the game, the Eagles tried to take the game to their opponents
with Ahmed Musa, Henry Onyekuru and Odion Ighalo running at the
Pirates but they just could not break in. In the second half it
became an uninspiring affair. The two goals scored in the second half
would have made it seem like a great game but it was far from it.
To
say we were bored to tears watching that game was one thing, but to
think that the Seychelli side we played was a poor side is even
worse. Their ball handling was poor, same as their play and
communications but the Super Eagles made them look great.
Any
half decent side would have scored a bagful of goals but not the
Eagles. But maybe we can say it was an inconsequential game and the
players did not put their best foot forward.
3. Is this Onuachu?
Paul
Onuachu got his first cap for the Eagles coming in as a second half
substitute for Oghenekaro Etebo in the 64th minute. Even though all
Nigerians who have watched the Super Eagles in the last two years
know by now that Ighalo is the undisputed first choice attacking
player, Onuachu’s call up gave some hope for more bite in the forward
line. He was, at the time of invitation, top scorer in the Danish
League and Nigeria’s top scorer anywhere in the world this season. He
had 17 goals from 21 games, he had good height and certainly he would
be the man. The excitement over his call up faded less than 7 minutes
after he got in. He probably needs the Egypt game to redeem himself
and build his confidence because he did not particularly wow many
with his performance on the night.
4. Alex Iwobi is making
a mistake?
Alex
Iwobi is not a poor player and he has been Nigeria’s best player in a
handful of games, but he was poor, really poor against Seychelles and
this has not been the first time he has been really bad for the
Eagles. Maybe he is trying too hard to be a playmaker, maybe he wants
to cover every blade of grass on the pitch or maybe he wants to be
like his uncle, Austin Jay Jay Okocha.
Time
and time again, he tried to showboat and it went awry. He tried to
give the more difficult pass when a simpler one would have been more
effective to the team. He was all over the place, but could have kept
it simple. It was a game a sincere Alex Iwobi would love to forget as
soon as possible.
5. The Super Eagles are
really not favourites for the AFCON
During
the pre-match presser for the game, Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr
was asked to react to a statement made by MoroccanNational Team
coach, Herve Renard that Nigeria’s Super Eagles are favourites for
the AFCON.
He
laughed it off saying the Super Eagles were not favourites.
Personally, I also laughed Rohr off as he being diplomatic but after
the show against Seychelles, it must dawn on us as Nigerians that the
Eagles are really not favourites.
Unless,
as optimists say, that it was a game that poor because the Eagles had
nothing to play for, it was one ninety minute show that should bother
Nigerians.
Nigeria
won 3-1 against Seychelles. As usual we would take the result as the
three points are much more important that play, but at some point the
Eagles would have to up their game. The fewer bright lights in the
team than those that dimmed the shine.

The
Eagles can play better, but the show against Seychelles leaves a
bitter taste in the mouth.

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