I waited for the chance to drop this. My mind was made up after the game against Poland. My thoughts were already down; just not in ink. But I wanted to give them a chance…another chance to change something in my mind…anything at all…with a showing against Serbia. After last night, I’m still holding the same conclusion which has been on my mind since the World Cup draw: Nigeria’s Super Eagles will get thrashed out of the World Cup in Russia.
Before anyone jumps on my back, let me just say that, in summary, the team is nowhere near the quality required to even compete in our group. It showed a bit against Poland, and even more so against Serbia. Rohr still has a lot to ponder as he prepares for the final warm-up game against England at Wembley. As for me, here are my lingering concerns.
- UZOHO IS BACKUP ONLY: This was clear before he met up with the squad for the friendlies. He plays in the Spanish Second Division for the B Team of a Deportivo side that’s having the worst La Liga season in years. He can’t even get into a side that is THAT bad and we’re here expecting him to pull off miracles in Russia when called upon? Shiiid. Ezenwa is our best bet for success between the sticks (based on his match experience with the team in recent times) so Uzoho is much better as a backup option at best.
- INDECISIVE FRONTLINE AND MIDFIELD: First of all, I’m worried about Ighalo. He struggles when he’s the target man. His movement is not good enough and opposition defenders easily mark him out in games. I remember Cameroon had the same issue with Vincent Aboubakar at the last AFCON. He was relegated to being an impact sub, which worked to great effect. Perhaps, it could work with Ighalo. A starting frontline of Moses, Iwobi and Iheanacho seems more fluid and harder to defend against, which will wear out defences for Ighalo to come in and take advantage of. Another way would be to try out other candidates for the role. Either way, Ighalo can’t be starting games for Nigeria at this World Cup. We will struggle to get goals. Same as the midfield…Onazi can’t be left alone with Mikel. He lacks positional discipline, despite his high workrate. A midfield three of Ndidi, Mikel and Onazi seems better. If we are to have any luck in this competition, the Super Eagles need all the protection they can get.
- BETWEEN IDOWU AND EDERSON: The left-back position is one I’m keen for us to resolve and while Ederson is an experienced left-back, Brian Idowu is a much better option. He’s safe and attempts less risks. He is good going forward and just as efficient when defending. I think if he gets the nod to start in Russia, the Super Eagles have a good defence base…at least we can thank God for that.
Don’t get me wrong. Solving the above won’t stop us from getting thrashed, but at least we will leave with some pride at least.