It is now undeniable that the Super Eagles of Nigeria are journeying towards new horizon under the new coaching crew headed by Austin Eguavoen and Emmanuel Amuneke.
Already, the green shoots of greatness appear to be sprouting for Nigeria with 3 emphatic wins in the group stages of the just concluded Afcon that directly catapulted the team to 3rd place in Africa in the Fifa rankings.
As formational frailties contributed to Nigeria's unfortunate early shock Afcon ouster, the question on the lips of many fans is: what killer formation and formula should Eguavoen adopt for the Super Eagles against Ghana and for opponents afterwards?
Personally I think 3-5-2 formation is the way to go for Nigeria. It offers a healthy balance of offensive and defensive approach for our Nigeria's wingbacks whilst still having enough cover at the back with 3 competent centre backs.
Then you have 2 defensive midfielders offering cover for the centre backs, 1 mobile attacking midfielder and 2 strikers (a centre forward and a support striker). This constellation will offer a potent attacking threat.
That is just my suggestion. Whatever formation Eguavoen adopts, I will keep sounding this out that Nigeria needs a minimum of 3 midfielders: 1 DM with a deep playing CM (similar to Rohr’s Etebo-Ndidi Combo or Keshi’s Onazi-Mikel Combo).
Perhaps the most important factor that led to Nigeria’s loss against Tunisia was just having 1 DM in Ndidi with Aribo too further up the pitch to track back on time to always make up the grounds in offering ancillary defensive cover.
Then they will need a marauding attacking midfielder, a role played admirably by Iwobi between 2019 and 2021 for Nigeria. In recent times, Iwobi’s effectiveness in that role has badly weakened. Against Egypt, Aribo delivered a coup-de-maitre performance in dispensing that duty.
None of us Critics know what tweaks Eguavoen will make to his formation going forward but my advice to him is not to leave the midfield wafer thin.
Since he favours Nigeria's historical arrangements, 1 can posit a 4-4-2 formation that looks like this:
GK: Stanley Nwabili
DFs: Aina – Ekong – Balogun – Collins
MFs: Ndidi – Onyeka (almost side by side but Onyeka can foray slightly forward but never too far away to support Ndidi when needed. Ndidi never goes forward and should be careful with his tackles)
WFs: Lookman – Simon (wingers who drop back to perform defensive duties)
SS: Iheanacho (will perform a dual role of attacking midfielder and support striker. He will have to be very mobile to cover grounds and he will definitely be substuted for Awoniyi or Olayinka early in the second half due to tiredness).
CF: Osimhen (who will be the arrow down the middle and across the channels).
I think this set up will compensate for what Eguavoen is trying to achieve.
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