A monumental friendly clash between Brazil and Nigeria at the Singapore national stadium provided insights into the Super Eagles’ improvement.

It was one of those fixtures arguably every football-loving Nigerian has once dreamed to see, with the first and only previous encounter being a 3-nil loss for Nigeria in 2003.

The Super Eagles struggled to settle into proceedings earlier on as Chidozie Awaziem looked solid at Right full-back (before and after Neymar’s early injury) while Jamilu Collins got exposed time and again on the opposite flank.

Nigeria threatened with a couple of early counter attacks and scored the opener through Joe Aribo.
The Rangers midfielder made a late run into the box and showed great composure to finish past Ederson, following good work from Victor Osimhen and Moses Simon.

Joe Aribo tucking in the opener. (Cheah Kin Wai/SportsSG)
Aribo’s two goals from two international appearances have come following late runs into the area, adding to the impressive Arsenal of the Super Eagles. His assured left foot, guile and quality on the ball make his national team inclusion a game-changer for the Super Eagles.

The ripple effect of competition for a starting place with Oghenekaro Etebo will also benefit the squad.

Semi Ajayi (L) had a good game in defence. (Getty Images)
Although the Seleção did get a well-deserved equalizer through Casemiro, the new additions are settling in nicely and steadily improving the Super Eagles.

West Brom’s Semi Ajayi had another good run-out following his superb showing against Ukraine last month. His calmness and tidy defending is much-needed in the Super Eagles backline as much as his quality on the ball.
His form also creates fierce competition with Kenneth Omeruo and William Troost-Ekong for two centre back positions.

Francis Uzoho suffered a nasty-looking knee injury in an awkward landing to be replaced by Maduka Okoye.

The Düsseldorf-born goalkeeper enjoyed an assured debut as he had little to do during his time on the pitch, keeping a clean sheet. The 20-year-old immediately cushions the loss of Uzoho and has a good chance to impress and prove his quality at International level.

Victor Osimhen. (Getty Images)
Victor Osimhen is quite simply Nigeria’s man going into the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. The in-form Lille striker was instrumental as Brazil were held to a fourth winless game. 

He led the line admirably after being isolated upfront during Brazil’s early dominance of possession, but looked a constant threat against Thiago Silva and Marquinhos. Chasing down every loose ball in the final third, Nigeria’s goal fittingly owed to his hold-up play and industry.

It’s important that Osimhen continues to feel like the main man in attack and perform despite not getting on the scoresheet. Perhaps the absence of Tammy Abraham from the Super Eagles setup might be the environment he needs to prove one of Africa’s deadliest strikers.

Faced with the small matter of filling the golden boots of top goalscorer at the qualifiers and AFCON tournament, Odion Ighalo. Osimhen’s confident displays must be taken in as he challenges different kinds of African opposition in the qualifiers.

The Super Eagles have shown steady improvement since AFCON 2019. (Nicholas Tan/SportSG)
Certain areas that needed improvement in the Super Eagles following AFCON have been steadily worked upon.

The goalkeeping department suffered a casualty but Okoye has received playing time, defensive ranks have been improved with various options, the midfield has added a much-needed attacking threat and the attack is less static than it used to be. 

Although the results read two draws, Nigeria gained respect against Brazil and Ukraine, with squad competition even higher. 

Next on, the road to 2021.

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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