The Super Eagles of Nigeria played two top international friendlies against Poland and Serbia, and there were lots of takeaways. Completesportsnigeria.com’s JOHNNY EDWARD presents the players who flopped and those who performed well in both games…
Alex Iwobi’s performance for the Super Eagles in the two games against Poland and Serbia was abysmal by his standards. Iwobi was expected to create problems for the aging Serbia full back Alexandre Kolarov but failed to re-enact his mesmerizing form for Gernot Rohr’s side who suffered their first defeat in a friendly under their German tactician.
By his standards, Odion Ighalo was below par for the Super Eagles in the two encounters against Poland and Serbia after he could manage only two shots at goal in 135 minutes of action. They came in the second game against Serbia. Though he lacked the needed support and supplies, when he got the balls he failed to make judicious use of it by neither holding up play to bring his teammates into the game or to trouble the defence line he faced with his off the ball runs.
Since he lost his place in the starting lineup for the Super Eagles, Musa got a rare chance to justify Gernot Rohr’s faith in him that he still possess the quality to be in the squad but he flopped. The 25 year old played as a winger in the win over Poland and as a striker against Serbia but did not make any valuable impact in both games.
The Torino midfielder failed to live up to expectation on his return to the team four years after being omitted. Obi played two nervy games for Nigeria trying too hard to impress and in the process made so many unforced errors. He was nowhere near the player he used to be for the Eagles. His long-range switches of play and even short passes that always seem to find a teammate at club level was missing from his game.
The Nantes defender had a game to forget against the Serbians on Tuesday. The 21 year old on the back of a sterling performance against Argentina was badly exposed by Alexandre Mitrovic and it was evident that he can’t be efficient in a 4-4-2 formation.
His tackles were rash and his passes from the defence were wayward. He was always caught out of position when the Super Eagles were on the defensive. He also needs to work more on his aerial prowess as he barely won any against the Serbians.
William Troost Ekong was Nigeria’s standout performer for the Super Eagles in defence in the two games though he was left exposed by the ineffective Chidozie Awaziem who stepped in for the injured Leon Balogun for the Serbia game.
His positional play alongside Balogun in the team’s win over Poland was exceptional and his tackles as well were timely. He also covered well for Shehu Abdulahi each time he surged forward to join the attack.
In the absence of the Super Eagles skipper, Chelsea star was unarguably Nigeria’s biggest star in the team and he posted a top class performance in the two games. The 27 year old Victor Moses scored for Nigeria from the penalty spot to hand Gernot Rohr’s men a 1-0 win against Poland after he was fouled in the box. He also had two attempts on goal in the first half of the team’s loss to Serbia before he was replaced.
Ebuehi showed NigerianS how effective he can be playing as right back for the Super Eagles. The Ado Den Haag defender showed he has speed, skill and directness, the basic attributes that will suit the fast paced Eagles game very well. But he also had nervy moments during the Serbia game when he was caught out of position which led to the second goal.
Obviously, there are areas he needs to improve on but Deportivo Fabril goalkeeper Francis Uzoho has shown in the two games against Poland and Serbia that he is definitely one for the future. Uzoho made brilliant saves to stop Robert Lewandowski twice in Wroclaw and also made three good saves against Serbia despite conceding twice in the defeat.
He still lacks the full confidence to man the Super Eagles goal but his ball handling has improved greatly from when he made his debut in November last year.