In an online media outlet, the former coach of Kwara United Samson Unuanel ‘revealed’ that the double header friendly against Cameroon in the first 2 weeks of June will be a good test for the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
“Playing Cameroon (and Mexico in July) will definitely serve as a good test for the team ahead of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers and 2022 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.” Said Unuanel.
In what sense I ask?
There are different ways which these games could serve as a test for the Super Eagles. A test of a new formation; a test against a formidable African opposition; a test of how to build on recent victories; a test of how fringe players can embed themselves in the team; or a test of how (well) the Super Eagles are prepared ahead of crucial qualifiers.
Ahead of world cup qualifiers later this year and Afcon early next year, I think we need to see how resilient the team is.
Inviting a large number of fringe players should afford the coaching crew and fans to see what these players bring to the table.
“This friendly against Cameroon is an interesting game because we are going to have some of the new players,” said coach Gernot Rohr on the CAF website.
“It is a big test game and an opportunity to test the new players,” he added.
Absolutely! Now for me that is a more meaty quote from the German Gaffer.
With periphery players like Noble and Anayo recalled and already in camp while others like Marcus Abraham and Terem Moffi were handed maiden invitations, fans are only too eager to see how these players will perform against a formidable opposition.
These matches promise to be fascinating encounters. Whereas many Super Eagles fans would like nothing but compelling outcomes (in the way of results) against the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, coach Gernot Rohr has chosen to draw the ire of a section of his critics by stating that results are unimportant.
“Of course, we are not going to play for the result against Cameroon in Austria, but it’s an opportunity to see our boys and see something different with our systems against a very good team that will host the next Afcon.” Rohr stated.
It has to be said that there is substantial merit in Gernot Rohr’s statement above.
After all, an overarching purpose of these friendlies is to test new players, try out different tactics and see how the team will respond to different scenarios on the pitch against a tough opposition.
But, the sort of results against Algeria and Tunisia in 2020 friendlies left a bitter taste on the tongue and are sure to dampen morale among fans even if the motive of trying fresh faces and formations is achieved.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria go into this encounter at the back of 2 wins, 3 draws in our last 5 games. Positive results in the games against Cameroon will not only help continue a string of wins, it will inadvertently have the domino effect of boosting our standing in the subsequent FIFA rankings – something sure to further bring smiles on the faces of fans and sure to continue enhancing Rohr’s reputation as a coach capable of taking Nigeria places.
Sadly, preparations for the friendlies have be beset with an unprecedented level of withdrawal due to injuries.
Suspicion is rife that players are choosing to stay away due to being owed wages/bonuses.
So far, 5 players from the original list have pulled out, leaving just 18 players.
Any more withdrawals would have put the friendlies in real jeopardy of being call off. However, mercifully, 17 players have now reported to camp making it more likely that the games will go ahead.
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