By Seyi Omotoso
It’s a great disappointment and an awful experience for the Super Eagles of Nigeria to have lost two goals to nothing to Croatia in their opening match in the World Cup finals. While the stunning performance of the Eagles gives many the hope that they would bounce back, the obvious fact at hand reveals it may only be a dream never come true because Nigeria meets Iceland next, a more completed side (perhaps the best in the group), and one of the favourite to clinch the cup in fact. Looking at the Argentines’ display against Iceland, the Super Eagles will need to seriously buckle up for their next match against the rising team.
Now, the Super Eagles are the least team believed to qualify from the group or so it seems. Whether by faith or chance, the mathematics of football says they are. But there is still a way. Yes, there is. Magic happens in football, we have seen this many times. But asides waiting for the magic which may or may never happen, waiting for that team to win and that team to lose, the Eagles can increase their chance of qualifying by duly taking the following measures into consideration:
- Ighalo Should Be Played With Iheanacho In The Front
Judging from their display at the last match, it becomes necessary that the Super Eagles’ Odion Ighalo be supported by a player at the front of goal. Not in any minute does Ighalo have a serious attempt on target and this should be one of the major concerns of the coach. Versus Croatia, Ighalo was poorly fed, because there was no one actually there set to feed him. So, it’s advisable that Gernot Rohr starts Ighalo and Iheanacho together against Iceland to better improve their forward.
- If possible, Victor Moses should be replaced
If the Super Eagles must go far in the tournament, then, sentiment should be highly frowned at. Versus Croatia, Victor Moses’ display was not good enough and should be a concern for the coach. Moses plays at a strategic angle, but it’s disappointing that his dribbles and square plays were most times unsuccessful. The Super Eagles need a number seven that is skilful and can frustrate. A number seven that is hungrier and would not be falling at any slight tackle like Moses against Croatia. Plus, A number seven that can take square plays well. As an opinion, it’s suggested that Ahmed Musa would be a better replacement.
- The Defenders Should Be Professional
Troost-Ekong’s spider mark on Mandzukic versus Croatia was totally unprofessional. Totally. And in fact, if it had been a furious referee, it might have resulted in a red card. In his comment after the match, Francisco Zola also lamented the awful marking. “You don’t do such at this level of football. That was poor defending from him,” he said. Gernot Rohr should therefore tell his men to be more careful and professional when they are playing against Iceland on June 22, for this is a team with the likes of Alfred Finnbogason, Johann Gudmundsson, Jón Dadi Bödvarsson, and many others who can even frustrate defenders better than Croatia forwards did
- Rohr Should Communicate More With The Players
Gernot Rohr’s interaction with the players against Croatia was poor. Highly-rated coaches today are known to be charismatic and talkers. They follow the ball as though they themselves are on the field and this is what the Nigerian manager should improve on. The youngest team in the World Cup as they are called, are light-hearted and most of them just made their debut in this World Cup finals. It’s then not surprising that their morale became drowned after the first goal versus Croatia. And that is such a strategic period that the coach should have come in, influencing his team, by hailing and talking to them. Reassuring them that they can do it.
However, if these measures are duly considered, it’s hopeful that the Super Eagles of Nigeria would rise from the bottom, and might even finish top in the so called ‘group of death’ aka Group D.
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