Completesportsnigeria.com’s ADEBOYE AMOSU presents seven major talking points from Nigerian Super Eagles versus Democratic Republic of Congo friendly clash at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt on Monday, May 28 2018.
1. Uzoho Proved He Is Ready For The Big Task
Since his debut appearance for the Super Eagles in a friendly game against Argentina last November,( as half time substitute for Daniel Akpeyi), Francis Uzoho has mannned the goal for the three-time African champions against Poland, Serbia and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Though, there were divided opinions on his performance in those games, against the Congolese, he looked solid and ready for the number one job in Russia.
The Deportivo La Coruna of Spain goalie made three key saves and commanded his area well unlike in the games against Poland and Serbia.
2. No Mikel Obi, No Super Eagles?
Super Eagles inspirational captain, John Mikel Obi, didn’t feature in the team’s previous two games going into the game against Democratic Republic of Congo. His absence was badly felt in those games as the team lacked a proper leader with no proper coordination in their play.
In his absence again against the Congolese, the trio of Ogenyi Onazi, Joel Obi and Kelechi Iheanacho failed to stamp their authority in the game and the opponent clearly dominate the midfield.
Mikel’s presence and form will undoubtedly play a key role on how far the team will go in Russia.
3. ‘Oyinbo Wall’ Looked Shaky Again
The once reliable ‘Oyinbo wall’ combination of William Troost-Ekong and Leon Balogun was once again exposed by the Congolese who made them work harder than expected in the game.
With the duo expected to face stronger opponents in Russia, the fans of the Super Eagles can expect more nervy moments at the World Cup.
4. Simy Nwankwo Showed Promise On His Debut
Though he was isolated up front for most of the game, and lacked quality service from the midfielders, lanky forward, Simy Nwankwo, showed that he has a future in the Super Eagles with his impressive performance.
He was unlucky not to be on the score sheet. His well struck shot hit the post in the first half and he also had a well placed header after the break saved by the Congolese goalkeeper.
5. Poor Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium Turf Affected Super Eagles’ Performance
It is difficult to fathom why the Nigeria Football Federation settled for the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium as venue for this game as against the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium which hosted the team’s home matches in the qualifiers for the World Cup.
The pitch was in bad shape and didn’t give the players the chance to express themselves.
It also exposed the players to the danger of copping injuries which could as well affect their chances of playing at the World Cup. No wonder some of the players preferred to play safe in the game.
6. Echiejile Looked Like a Spent Force
Super Eagles left-back Elderson Echiejile spent 45 minutes on the pitch and hardly impressed as he was pinned back by the Congolese forwards.
Ola Aina looked more lively after replacing him and it is hard to see the latter earning a berth in Russia on the basis of this performance.
7. Ebuehi Not In Abdullahi’s Class In The Right-Back
The Benfica new signing is one of the highly rated defenders in the team, but on the basis of his showing against Dr Congo, didn’t prove he is good enough to pick a shirt ahead of the Bursaspor defender Shehu Abdullahi in the right-back position. Ebuehi lacked the calmness and overlapping ability of Abdullahi.