After all said and done, the Super Eagles final list of 23 is out and while I commend the coaching crew for a carefully considered selection.
However one major surprise for me was the omission of Olaoluwa Aina. He’s a pretty decent player and his use of both legs could have come in handy when things get rough at the World Cup but the coach must have had his reasons for dropping him so I respect his decision.
The game against England produced no strange outcomes. We knew how strong they are with all their Premier League stars. They dominated the first half, we came back in the second half and bossed them.
Much has also been said about our performance against England last Saturday but from my experience, friendly games before major competitions like this should be more about the performance, reactions in different circumstances and not necessarily about the result.
On that score, I think the Super Eagles came out in flying colours. They started with a 4-3-3 system which the players were not comfortable with and they struggled all through the half, conceding two goals in the process.
In the second half, they switched to a 3-5-2 and we saw a completely different team. They had England on the back foot for long periods and could have equalized or even possibly won the game.
Now, this does not make the 3-5-2 system necessarily better or superior to the 4-3-3 as some people have insinuated since the game. These analysts point to the fact that the same scenario happened in the friendly against Argentina which the Eagles rallied to win 4-2 after swapping tactics and formation.
The fact is that, depending on the opposition, either of the formations will come in handy and could deliver the results required. The good thing is that the Eagles have the ability to change from one formation to another. Having a Plan B is desirable when the chips are down. The one that didn’t work today may turn out to be our game-winner tomorrow.
John Ogu did exceptionally well when he came on as part of a three-man defence. I have heard suggestions that he should probably be converted to that position but I beg to disagree. His performance in that unfamiliar role was simply circumstantial. As a professional player, he won’t mind playing anywhere but when the chips are down, his naivety in that position will show so I advise that he should stick to his natural wing.
Having talked about the importance of a good performance over results, I think the Super Eagles must not only play well against the Czech Republic on Wednesday, they must also get a good result. It is the last game before going to the World Cup so I expect Gernot Rorh to field our strongest 11. It is my believe that those who start tomorrow’s game, barring any injury, should be the starting team against Croatia for our opening World Cup game on June 16.
The Eagles are primed and, like I said before, they have all it takes to excel so I expect that they should show this against the Czech Republic. If they quickly get into their rhythm, they should be able to win. Probably a 2-1 outcome in favour of Nigeria.