Completesports.com’s ADEBOYE AMOSU who is currently covering the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt presents six key talking points on the Super Eagles performance in the tournament.
Rohr Keeps Faith With His ‘Trusted Players’
Super Eagles head coach steadfastly kept faith with majority of his ‘trusted players’ at Egypt 2019 even when things were not going on well on the pitch.
Talented duo; Victor Osimhem and Henry Onyekuru who did well for their respective European clubs last season were consistently overlooked by the German.
Instead, Ahmed Musa in particular, who had a poor tournament was consistently selected when it was obvious he was off form.
Awaziem Is a Revelation At Right-Back
Awaziem impressively asserted himself in Gernot Rohr’s team. To many, he was Nigeria’s best player in the competition. He replaced the injured Shehu Abdullahi in Nigeria’s 1-0 win in first Group B match against Burundi and never looked back.
Game by game, Awaziem, who is originally a centre-back proved his adaptability to his new position, putting on solid displays in all the games. Suspension forced him to miss the Super Eagles’ Third-Place game against Tunisia.
Ighalo Proves His Scoring Prowess Again
Like him or loathe him, Odion Ighalo has consistently proved he is the best striker in the Super Eagles at the moment. The China-based striker netted seven goals in the qualifiers to emerge the top scorer, one ahead of Burundi’s Fiston Abdou-Razak.
He is currently atop the scorers chart with five goals and could finish as the competition’s top scorer unless Senegal’s Saido Mane and Adam Ounas who have scored three goals each were able topple him in today’s final at the Cairo International Stadium.
Chukwueze Still Work In Progress
The Villarreal winger got his big chance to impress in the Super Eagles quarterfinal win against the Bafana Bafana of South Africa and grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Not only did he score the opening goal against Stuart Baxter’s men, he was also voted man of the match.
Chukwueze however struggled a bit in the team’s last two games against Algeria and Tunisia showing that he is not the finished article yet. He will do well staying at Villarreal and further hone his skills before moving to a bigger club.
Super Eagles Need a Talented Playmaker
Though he has always expressed his preference for the number 10 role, Arsenal star, Alex Iwobi failed to thrive in the position for the Super Eagles at Egypt 2019. Head coach of the side, Gernot Rohr , aware of the scarcity of quality personnel in that department, has already hinted he will begin a search for midfielders, especially a replacement for the retired former captain of the side, John Mikel Obi.
Etebo Enhances His Reputation
As Natural Defensive Midfielder
Oghenekaro Etebo no doubt thrived in the defensive midfield position for the Super Eagles. Not one to be intimidated by an opponent, He put up a solid display in all of Nigeria’s seven games in the competition.
SkyBet Championship club Stoke City will face a tough time to keep him on their books for long as he will surely attract irresistible bidders for his transfer soon.