Eight Key Observations In Super Eagles' 1:0 Loss To Guinea Bissau
The Super Eagles fell 1:0 to Guinea Bissau at home in this week's 2023 Afcon qualifiers fixture. This was by far the Super Eagles' worst performance under Coach Peseiro. For me, my 8 observations are listed below:
1, Communication: Akpoguma and Bassey failed to gel as a unit leading to the only goal of the match. Their pairing needs time to be finetuned whilst cracks are beginning to show in certain aspects of Calvin Bassey's game but he will get better.
2. Anticipation: Uzoho’s inability to sense danger from the route one football meant his movement was suspect which led to the goal. The Cyprus based gloves-man has endured some rather horrific periods between the sticks for Nigeria of late. Perhaps it's time to give another goalkeeper a chance.
3. Pitch: The turf was awful which didn't allow Peseiro's brand of football to flourish. I recommend the setting up of an independent body to independently inspect, approve or reject pitches put forward by the NFF for Super Eagles' matches.
4. Team shape: Again, like during Eguavoen's reign at times, the shape looked like 4-2-4 which left the midfield of Ndidi and Iwobi overrun, overstretched and unable to lift the team in critical periods. Iheanacho doesn’t cover enough grounds to augment the midfield. It begs the question as to whether he is a suitable Support Striker for this sort of formation that clearly requires a workaholic that covers a wider blade of grass (like Peter Olayinka).
5. Ndidi: I said it before that, even in his best form, there is no place for Ndidi in Peseiro's 4-4-2 formation. It relies on sharp, quick thinking, box to box midfielders who are exceptional with ball-to-feet and are offensive minded. Ndidi’s skillset doesn't tick the box.
6. Predictability: The Super Eagles were way too predictable which made them to be easily neutralized by Guinea Bissau. When Onuachu was introduced, the quality of service to him was predictable and below par which rendered him ineffective.
7. Suitability of Flat 4-4-2: When playing in the horrible, horrific and horrendous pitches that the NFF shamelessly provides the Super Eagles, perhaps a more pragmatic 5-4-1 formation would suit the Super Eagles. They could hardly express themselves yesterday on grass and the formation of 4-4-2 only served to compound their woes. Playing in such a surface clearly contributed to some of the shocking home results under Gernot Rohr. It seems we never learn.
8. Less Dribbling: I see Nigeria players like Chukwueze and Osihmen still trying to bludgeon their way through a wall of opposition players without success ; yet they try and fail several times over. Ordinary Central Africa Republic players (with all due respect) easily curtailed the new Jay Jay Okocha (Chidera Ejuke) in a World Cup qualifier last year or so. I think African players have worked out this aspect of Nigeria's play and it's time to try out something else, something fresh.
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