With a cross section of Nigeria fans still nursing the wounds gashed opened by the manner in which the Super Eagles allowed a 4 goals lead go up in smoke against The Leone Stars on Friday, only to settle for a damaging draw, beleaguered coach Gernot Rohr now says there will be a reaction from his boys.
“I’m sure [the Super Eagles] will react [in the second leg of the encounter to put things right] because I know my team, I know what we can do, they showed it in the first half,” expressed the German tactician and you have to agree with him to a point.
Because, indeed, the Super Eagles did browbeat Sierra Leone amazingly to 4:0 lead under 35 minutes only to collapse spectacularly afterwards (more so in the last 20 minutes after Musa and Balogun had been subbed out), blowing away the lead thereby blowing away their earlier momentum.
Yes, if we are to be true to ourselves, there were positives to take away from that encounter.
However, with the negatives far outweighing the positives, the focus from most fans' perspectives is to rectify the shortcomings that gave rise to such a monumental collapse in our own backyard.
Lost in all the fog of disappointment and bruised ego is that fact that Rohr has started trying out a 4-4-2 formation which provided ruthlessness offensively but frailties defensively for the Super Eagles.
Having 4 players bearing down the Sierra Leone’s defence proved too much for them to handle leading to Nigeria’s 4 goals lead in 32 minutes.
Being thin in the middle (with Aribo not tracking back quickly enough and Etebo being able to be bullied off the ball easily) offered Sierra Leone their initial route back into the encounter – which they gladly took.
Then you have wingers who were dispossessed off the ball (Chukwueze and Iwobi) and full-backs (Akpoguma and Sanusi) who lost their men to allow dangerous crosses to be delivered from their territories.
The team also appeared to lack true leadership on the field after the departure of Musa and Balogun.
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