Without a shadow of doubt, the Super Eagles lifeless and uninspiring displays in the recently concluded round of world cup qualifiers led to calls for the head of head coach Gernot Rohr.
Rohr pinned his hopes on a cluster of players, some of whom let him down with insipid displays throughout the campaign.
I now take a look at 5 of such players.
1) Moses Simon: zero goal and zero assist in all 6 qualifiers reveal how dire Simon's deliveries were throughout the campaign. Despite his dubious output, Gernot Rohr used Simon in all the world cup qualifiers, a reason why many fans want to see the back of the German, and hopefully the back of Simon under a new coach.
Simon's Qualifier Scorecard: 6 games, 0 goals, 0 clean assists, 1 key moment is his deflected assist to Osihmen's goal against Cape Verde.
2) Ahmed Musa: the Leicester City flop appears to many fans to be overstaying is welcome in Nigeria colours. Capable of some truly scintillating moments, Musa did nothing extraordinary in the 5 games he played in the qualifiers apart from 1 penalty scored against Liberia away.
The consensus is that Musa keeps taking the place of a more dynamic wing option for the Super Eagles like Emmanuel Denise or even young Dele Bashiru (who can be repurposed to play as a winger).
Musa's qualifier scorecard: 5 games, no assists, no goals in open play, 1 penalty, largely forgettable outings.
3) Joe Aribo: the Rangers man had a most underwhelming campaign in the heart of Nigeria's midfield in the 5 games he played. Not once did Rohr feel the need to replace the young midfielder with a more flamboyant, dynamic and resourceful midfielder. Some argued that dual nationality players like Aribo aren't built for the grueling demands of African football. Aribo's subpar showings throughout the qualifiers lend fuel to this reasoning.
Aribo's qualifier Scorecard: 5 games, no goals, no assists, minimal memorable moments.
4) Leon Balogun: the veteran center defender will go down in infamy as being complicit in arguably the Super Eagles most disgraceful defeat at home when he slipped and allowed Karl Namnganda score his most memorable goal for Center Africa Republic. Balogun made up for this rubbish with an eloquently taken volley in the second leg which still did not hide how inadequate his overall defensive display was throughout the campaign. Rohr had the opportunity to try other options but stuck with Balogun.
The days of the much-hyped yet wobbly Oyinbo wall are coming to a close.
Balogun's Qualifier Scorecard: 5 games, 3 clean sheets, 1 goal and overall average display.
5) William Troost Ekong: the Watford man simply failed to inspire confidence at times during this campaign. He was beaten in the air against Central Africa Republic in Lagos which almost resulted in a goal but for Uzoho's block. His back header also almost cost Nigeria against Cape Verde in the last match (after his poor marking had led to the visitors equalising within minutes of Osihmen's goal) . In short, Ekong had the odd mistake in him with his timing and technique always looking suspect.
How Rohr wasn't bold enough to jettison Ekong for someone else beats the imagination.
Ekong's Qualifier Scorecard: 90 minutes in each of his 5 games, 3 clean sheets, 1 assist, Ekong often hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons throughout the campaign.
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