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Ikpeba: Rohr Should Work On Super Eagles’ Midfield Ahead AFCON 2019

Ikpeba: Rohr Should Work On Super Eagles’ Midfield Ahead AFCON 2019

By Johnny Edward:
Former Super Eagles striker Victor Ikpeba has urged Gernot Rohr to fortify his midfield ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Cameroon, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.

The three-time African champions wrapped up their 2018 campaign with a goalless draw at home with Uganda at the Stephen Keshi International Stadium in Asaba Delta State on Tuesday. Ikpeba notes that there were positives from the fringe players who featured in the encounter despite the result.


Rohr made six changes to his starting line-up that played against Bafana Bafana in Johannesburg, with Semi Ajayi, Victor Osimhen, Samuel Chukwueze, Mikel Agu making their first start while Bryan Idowu and Daniel Akpeyi returned to action after sitting out the team’s last three games.

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“We need to see more from Osimhen, Success and Onyekuru,” the 1996 Africa Footballer of the Year said during his post-match analysis on Supersports tv after the international friendly game between Super Eagles and Uganda Cranes.

“Ajayi did well in his first start. With Mikel, Ighalo and hopefully Moses back in the team, the Super Eagles will be very formidable.

“Samuel Kalu’s performance so far has not made us miss Moses. He brings an element of surprise to the team and also his crosses are very good.

“The transition of this team from the midfield to the attack remains the weakest link of the team.

“We are not quick enough. If we get our transition right, we will be unbeatable in Cameroon.

“We have to do well in Cameroon after missing out on two editions. We will be a threat in Cameroon with the qualities we have, but we must be ready.

“Egypt, Mali, Senegal, Tunisia are there; they will be there to compete.”

The former Monaco and Borussia Dortmund forward would also predict that the Super Eagles will reach the semi-finals of the 2019 AFCON.

“Winning the AFCON will be difficult and I think the last four will be a good outing for the Super Eagles,” Ikpeba reiterated.

“With a game to spare, they qualified for the AFCON. The players were showed patriotism to get this result. The boys reacted positively. There’s unity and love among the players.”

“We need continuity and that has helped the team as well.”

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  • Omo9ja 3 years ago

    Yes I agreed with you Mr. Ikpeba. With what I have seen in today’s match, winning the tournament in Cameroon will be difficult indeed.
    Hopefully we can because impossible is nothing. God bless Nigeria!!!

  • POM-1… make we no fool ourselves… Rhor cannot give what he dosent have.

    • Dr. Drey 3 years ago

      but at least he can qualify us for international tournaments with games to spare…without calculators, permutations and combinations. At the rate he’s going, minus that fluke loss to SA in UYo, he seems to be invincible on the continent.

    • Rohr is Nigeria’s best coach ever. The stats speak for itself. We will be victorious in Cameroon next year. Cheets

    • Nigeria’s performance in 2018

      1st of January FIFA ranking 48 (7th in Africa)
      After yesterday’s match 44th and 3rd in Africa

      Competitive matches played:
      Won 8, drawn 2 lost 3

      Qualified for world cup with game to spare, qualified for AFCON with game to spare (we did not qualify at all in 2017 nor in 2015)

      I don’t see how we can criticise the coach as we are unbeaten in all games since the world cup. Our two losses in the world cup were to eventual finalists Croatia and to Argentina.

      Yes we should have done better at the world cup, but Nigeria has moved forward this year

  • Donald Eboigbe 3 years ago

    Ikpeba, aptly captured the whole scenario. I hope Rohr listens to him. Mikel should come back or he introduces Nwakali Kelechi. Then if Victor Moses could come back, if not, Simon Moses and Samuel Kalu are equally able to perform well in that role.

  • emmanuel 3 years ago

    the game against Uganda is a tip of the ice berg of what will happen at AFCON 2019

    • The game against Uganda was a test of our reserve team. By the time we bring back Uzoho, Omeruo, Ebuehi, Ndidi, Ighalo to the starting lineup and start Kalu and Troost it will be a different kettle of fish.
      This was the first time in six matches that Nigeria did not score. Previously we scored against Iceland, Argentina, Seychelles, Libya two matches and South Africa. South Africa had also not conceded a goal in the qualifiers and not lost a match same as Uganda, but Uganda was a practice match to test reserve players.
      Can’t compare

  • Austin 3 years ago

    Coach tour built this team around Mikel obi and Victor Moses whom he had used in past matches to execute his game plans. Moses’absence together with Mikel has affected the midfield so greatly. Iwobi is good but not experienced yet. I advise rohr to adopt a two man attacking midfield in Mikel’s absence especially when iwobi plays alone And then play a one man defensive midfield with four defenders. I agree with my big bros ikpeba that we need to see more of success, osimhen, and onyekuru and add that we need to also see the two nwakali brothers,especially kelechi nwakali.

    • Greenturf 3 years ago

      Kelechi Nwakali is struggling at Portuguese 2nd tier not good for eagles at least for now.

    • Yes, built the team around those two, but they’ve been missing for the past 5 games (one retired, the other resting).
      The team has been rebuilt since and we’ve both been unbeaten and have scored in every game since their last match.
      The Uganda match was a test match and was arranged to start looking at the reserves. This was far from our first team

  • Austin 3 years ago

    I believe the super eagles will do well in cameroon if Mikel returns to boost the team because he has influence on the midfield and on the young ones in the team. Of course shehu will be back, ebuehi, ndidi, onazi, Odion ighalo, moses(on probability), echiejile(on probability),etc. These were absentees in the match against Uganda. I’m a bit scared about the goal keeping section. With these players coming back there is hope of a good outing IF ONLY the coach makes a good selection with a good tactics.

    • Moses and Echiejile are not coming back.
      Our defence is solid with Ajayi proving he can be depended upon. Akpeyi had nothing to do all match, we should have seen a 3-1 scoreline against South Africa.
      Our goal difference is 11 goals for, 3 against (+8) since the world cup. We are not doing too badly

      Africa’s top 5 in FIFA rankings has the following results from the last 4 games (last game friendly):

      Senegal DWWW (10 POINTS)
      Morocco WDWW (10 POINTS)
      Nigeria WWDD (8 POINTS)
      Tunisia WWLL (6 points) Africa number 1
      Congo DR DWLD (5 POINTS)
      Congo DR

  • Many fans were castigating the coach for not playing Iwobi as number 10 ahead of Mikel. The man has decided to play him but what are we seeing now? complains and wailing as usual. Iwobi is being condemned because of not too good performance against south Africa

    • Dr. Drey 3 years ago

      Pls dont mind most of these confused people….some of whom claim to ‘know football’. Iwobi might not have been his usual fantastic self against SA, but he was behind every sensible forward movement of the SE that day. We needed someone who could slow down the rhythm of that game and hold on to the ball to kill few valuable seconds. The SA chose to play a high tempo game knowing well we arent used to that kind of play, coupled with the effects of playing at altitude. Iwobi did well to slow down the tempo at every opportunity he got and held on to d ball although he’s still not that apt with that aspect of his game, but which i believe he will develop with time, in order to be that perfect no 10 we want. Everytime he had the ball…2 – 3 SA players are always drawn to him thereby freeing other players. Our conservative approach in that game and the need to conserve energy was probably the reason for his relative quiet performance…but in all, he was still at the centre of most of our forward movements. we cannot forget that it was his through ball that released Musa for what would have been our second goal only for it to be ruled offside. In the match against Uganda, he was livelier in the 1st half when we played the ball on the ground more. The the 2nd half we played more of aerial balls and even at that point the young man was wearing out.

  • What people forgot to note is that he only play like that in the second half which i think was the coach instruction. over all, he still did well but his ball holding needs to be improve on no doubt about that. This guy needs an encouragement not what he is gotten from Nigerians. This is why i usually disagree with some people in this forum. criticise constructively not condemning.

  • Nigerians sha…oga o. Everybody wants to be a coach overnight. A cursory look into events around the super eagles is heartwarming and definitely good work in progress though this will ricochet badly off the face of naysayers. However I will further on pertinent circumstances to substantiate. Iwobi has lived above expectations in his new role and l have no reservation about that. The coach has tried Haruna and nwakali in d past none of them justified their call. Iwobi has given us something to cheer what we rather need to be careful about is our incessant and insatiable rush for perfection overnight. We should rather look for ways to shore up the midfield and encourage the young lad not all these bounce l bounce talk. Hopefully when the captain finally returns his presence in d midfield will improve things. I look forward to a robust and energetic cum skillfully partnership of Mikel, ndidi and iwobi in d midfield. It can work!.let’s join hands to encourage iwobi instead of castigating him. He’s brought a very good addition of incisive thread tru passes to the team which was lacking before. I remb people criticising the team before for not being creative enough now it’s another story.
    Second, so far Gernot rohr has scored high on his assessment. Wether we like it or not we can not say that he has failed. Again we fans are the issue. The tournament is still next year, but he has qualified us in grand style. Don’t forget this man will have enough time to gel the team better before the tournament. It is normal to have gray edges since the team is work in progress but u will all agree with its tempo on ascendency. By and large, the world is diverse and dynamic so the game of football so let’s be constructive always even when things are not looking too good, that’s the surest way to be the truest of fans. Thank you.

    • Ayphillydegreat 3 years ago

      Eloquently delivered piece of write up. Totally concur. That is the midfield I look forward to. Mikel, Ndidi, Iwobi if all are fit by the time the AFCON comes around it will be perhaps the best midfield triad in Africa. The likes of Etebo and Chukwueze can be adequate replacements with Agu and Ogu and the likes of Ovie Ejaria, Anderson Esiti and even Semi Ajayi as viable options during and after the AFCON rolling into the WorldCup qualifications of 2022. We have a growing team that with the help of the two major tournaments they’ve qualified for in only 2 years of Rohr’s tenure. Just watchout for the SuperEagles. #FLY LIKE AN EAGLE INTO THE FUTURE#.

  • I usually watch super eagles matches twice, the first is always done emotionally, but at the second look, i watch it tactically. From looking at the match against south africa tactically i can conclude that iwobi was better than his fellow midfielders (ogu and etebo). Our opponent saw him as a big creative threat so they never gave him room or time, did you noticed that whenever Iwobi was one the ball, at least two south africa players comes to tackle him? he was tight marked. though he made mistakes, could not hold on on the ball. but he was the only midfielder out of the three who had the desire and energy to get things going, others were too conservative, despite some errors, i counted at least two key passes he made during the game, one of them could have led to a Goal if not for robbery. so, going forward i would advise that our midfield trio should be mikel/ndidi/iwobi or joel/ndidi/iwobi, even ajayi can play defensive midfield, Ogu is slower than mikel, he was afforded opportunities to turn defence to attack, but he failed woefully.
    OMERUO is error prone of recent……
    against Zambia in Ndola he was directly responsible for the goal we conceded,
    against Luxembourg in an international friendly he made an error that led to goal we conceded
    against Argentina at the world cup, he lost messi.
    against Seychelles, he mistimed his header and that almost led to a goal but for seychelles’ profligacy.
    against South Africa yesterday,…………….you can finish the sentence