Super Eagles of Nigeria

It has certainly been a difficult year for everyone all over the world. For Nigeria fans, even more frustrating as the Super Eagles registered a loss and three successive draws since lockdown, to leave them winless in 2020 (the first winless calendar year since 1970).

Although they remain top of Group L with eight points from four games, early qualification to Cameroon 2022 was undoubtedly the aim for Nigeria when drawn against Benin, Lesotho, and Sierra Leone.

In the final International window of the year, they could only secure two points from the minimum four required to seal an AFCON 2022 ticket against the Valiant Leone stars. 

Now the Super Eagles have it all to do again away to Benin in March.

Betway Nigeria

In truth, this is a long-standing attitude of putting themselves under unnecessary pressure. One which has been fortified by Gernot Rohr’s passive, conservative approach.

As shown dramatically in the home 4-4 tie with Sierra Leone, inviting or waiting to react to opponents is simply not good enough for 200million football-mad Nigerians. Letting a four-goal lead slip with qualification in sight is unforgivable. 

An improbable win in Freetown was navigated as the poor pitch conditions and the searing heat produced a nil-nil stalemate. Seeing out the three points in the final half-hour in Benin City was much easier. 

Nigeria Super Eagles
The Super Eagles struggled on a bad pitch in Freetown. (Twitter)

On Tuesday afternoon, Rohr could not conceive a different game plan for the return leg, nor a tactical reshuffle while the team laboured in the attacking third. Instead, three of the four substitutes were defensive-minded players. 

It is ludicrous then, that the club-less captain, Ahmed Musa, started both matches and unsurprisingly failed to inspire. Without Talisman Victor Osimhen, the Super Eagles were crying out for an attacking spark but Emmanuel Dennis was handed only a cameo while Cyriel Dessers was not even called up.

Centre Backs are preferred at right-back for ‘aerial abilities’ whereas two natural options for each fullback position were invited. Rotation and team selection has become a rigid affair even when opponents and game situations suggest otherwise

It is apparent that Rohr cannot change his ways, and he has renewed his mandate with a two-year extension earlier in the year. 

Pertinent then, that the realities of an unassertive national side are admitted.


Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin

Chief Editor of the Football Castle, Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin is a football junkie and writer of the beautiful game.

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