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Did Oshoala and Onumonu Underperform Against Canada or Are Observers Being Unfair?

“The duo of Oshoala and Onumonu are two very dangerous players but I really don’t know what happened that they couldn’t find their form against Canada.” Joseph Dosu.

Excuse me?! I am baffled by this statement. What is the basis for saying Onumonu and Oshoala didn’t find their form against Canada?

Oshoala kept the Canadian defenders on their toes with her marauding movements which almost led to at least 3 goals: 1 from a Plumptre long ball, 1 from a Plumptre throw in and 1 drive into the box 18 before being tackled.

Oshoala was as busy as bee in that game. In fact her long ball from deep was met by Onumonu whose cut back from the by line found Kanu who would draw a fine save from the goalkeeper off a bullet shot – only for Onumonu to be flagged offside as it was deemed that an offside Alozie’s hair touched the ball before falling to Onumonu.

Onumonu on her part did hold up play well and had a goal bound excellent shot parried by the goalkeeper. She did try to attempt inswingers and she was forceful in her attempts at penetrating Canadian defence (as already mentioned) .

A cross from Onumonu to Kanu drew a world class save from the goalkeeper before the move was deemed offside.

The Canadian defenders couldn’t sleep on the wheel for 1 minute with Onumonu and Oshoala on the prawl.

These are Olympic champions for Chrisr sake and Nigeria are (according to Afcon results) the lowest ranked African team in the tournament and the lowest ranked fifa team in the group.

With all due respect to Dosu but a more holistic based analysis will examine Onumonu and Oshoala’s outputs from the angle of ‘collective efforts’ rather than individual angles.

As parts of the Super Falcons unit on the day, Oshoala and Onumonu performed commendably. They both helped maintain the shape of their formation in a manner that allowed them to take up promising positions.

If you interview the Canada defenders I am sure they would tell you how they had to constantly be on alert to keep the two Nigerian strikers at bay.

Saying that ‘Onumonu and Oshoala’ should improve ignores their massive team contributions against Canada.

What should Improve?

For me, the following are the areas that need to improve:

1) Quality of high and low crosses in opposition 18 yard box from or close to the bylines.

2) Quality and quantity of cut backs and diagonal balls into delicate areas.

3) Quality of corner kick deliveries.

4) Quality of Route One football and long balls from defence and defensive midfield.

5) Quantity and quality of through balls.

6) More compelling defence splitting passes from the centre attacking midfielder.

7) Greater imaginative passing routines.

8) More crossing responsibilities from the left fullback position. On the right, Michelle Alozie is really doing well with her offensive incursions.

At this point, I can’t accuse the strikers of not being clinical. For me, we just did not create enough compelling goal scoring opportunities in the last match due to a more organised-defensive strategy.

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