The Super Eagles recorded their first win of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifers against Seychelles on Saturday. Goals from Ahmed Musa, Chidozie Awaziem and Odion Ighalo got NIgeria the much needed win. Completesportsnigeria.com’s Johnny Edward here highlights five revelations about the Super Eagles from the match.
1. GOAL SCORING STILL A PROBLEM
The Super Eagles created several chances in the game against Seychelles but were hugely disappointing in front of goal despite netting three goals. Changchun Yatai’s striker Odion Ighalo who has scored 16 Chinese Super Leagues goals in 22 appearances was the biggest culprit despite getting the team’s third goal from the spot. The former Watford striker had three other opportunities to score but failed. Bordeaux winger Samuel Kalu and Ahmed Musa also had some attempts at goal but they fluffed their lines.
2. EAGLES ARE NOT RUTHLESS
The Super Eagles outclassed Seychelles in the opening stages of the game dominating possession but rarely carved out neat chances to score goals. Gernot Rohr’s team looked dangerous on fast break occassionaĺly, but their flamboyance counted for nothing as the forwards lacked the killer instinct to nail their hosts when the advantage came their way. The Super Eagles must learn to be ruthless in goal hunt when they face minnows. The team missed the experience and calmness of captain John Mikel Obi in midfield and slick passes of Alex Iwobi, who could have added more sharpness in the attack.
3. LACK OF CREATIVITY
The Super Eagles’ lack of creativity was obvious from the outset. The two wingers Ahmed Musa and Samuel Kalu didn’t get enough support from Kelechi Iheanacho who was assigned to the No.10 role in the game. The Leicester City forward did not pull the needed strings for the team. In the past the Nigerian team has always thrived on the marauding runs of the winger well supported by a playmaker, but Iheanacho offered little in terms of creativity. Against a well organised team the Super Eagles will struggle to create chances to score from open play.
4. IHEANACHO CANNOT BE EAGLES NO.10
Kelechi Iheanacho has not lived up to his billing as one with the ability to evoke memories of past players who have starred in the No.10 role for the Super Eagles. Iheanacho struggled in that position. His play lacked fluency which is a trait of a classy playmaker of a team. The problem, of course, is where Gernot Rohr will deploy him when the big guns return to the squad. Potentially, Rohr has somewhat selection nightmare on his hands with the emerging talent at his disposal as he has to find a way of creating space for a Iheanacho in the team but certainly not the No.10 role.
5.EAGLES’ DEBUTANT WILL COME GOOD
Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr handed debut to Samuel Kalu and Semi Ajayi in the encounter and both players gave a good account of themselves.
Kalu playing at the right side of a three-man attack offered the team more width and pace each time the Super Eagles attacked. He also showed how brilliant he was taking on the Pirates defence in one vs one situations.
Ajayi on his part showed his versatility playing as a right-back when he came on for the injured Chidozie Awaziem. The Rotherham United defender was calm and solid.