It is now no longer news that Brazil has lined up Nigeria as their opponents for a high profile friendly match to be played in Singapore on 13 October 2019.
What will be new will be if the coach of the national team, Gernot Rorh, uses the encounter to demonstrate that he has converted 'lessons captured' from some of his shortcomings in previous matches to 'lessons learnt' in a manner to proves that he can indeed take the Super Eagles to a whole new level of achievements.
Nigeria are not averse to playing quality oppositions: the Super Eagles have played England, Argentina, Egypt and Nigeria's under 23 defeated Brazil’s under 23 not that long ago.
There is excitement ahead of this match because coach Rohr has developed a squad that is capable of holding its own against any opposition on the planet.
The likes of Osimhen, Aribo, Chukwueze, Iwobi, Musa, Uzoho, Ajayi and Ndidi are all exciting players who would relish the opportunity to boost their own profiles against such a high calibre opposition.
That said, a section of Super Eagles supporters will be using this match to see whether Rohr has identified and is addressing obvious flaws that still pervade this his ‘new look’ ‘ever improving Super Eagles outfit.
– defensive frailties: of late, almost all of our center defenders have shown tendencies to switch off. They lack the ability to concentrate fully for 90 minutes while all 3 of them (Balogun, Omeruo and Ekong) have the odd mistake or two in their games that creep up once too often.
Has Rohr noticed? What will he do? How will he address these?
– goalkeeping: Uzoho was commendable against Ukraine but that doesn’t mask the fact that our goalkeeping department remains suspect.
Why? Uzoho is not the finished article and options available aren’t viable.
The invitation of Maduka Okoye does show intent but not using him at all doesn’t go far enough.
– defensive midfield: Ndidi is an expert tackler while Etebo is a ball winner yet, both of them
do not always demonstrate high level vision, imagination or invention to make something happen from deep.
Is Aribo the solution to this? If so, who else? Can Etebo and Ndidi be up-skilled? Should Mikel Agu be recalled?
– attacking midfield: are we convinced that we have 2 players who can inject spark and creativity in the attacking midfield position?
Is Iwobi consistent enough?
– substitutions: will the invited players who aren’t starters be substituted in, in a meaningful manner?
– games management : will Rohr’s in-game decisions show that he has learnt lessons from previous matches like the Argerntine or Algeria losses?
The future is bright, but it can be much brighter and that depends on one man's approach and ability to adapt: Coach Gernot Rohr.