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Balogun Confident Eagles Will Beat Sierra Leone In Freetown

Balogun Confident Eagles Will Beat Sierra Leone In Freetown

Leon Balogun has expressed confidence the Super Eagles will overcome Sierra Leone in Freetown on Tuesday.

Balogun was in action against the Leon Stars in Benin before going off with a knock.

Despite the Super Eagles going into the break with a 4-1 lead, Sierra Leone fought back to secure a shock 4-4 draw.

Also Read: Troost-Ekong: Super Eagles Ready For Redemption In Freetown

And looking forward to the return leg in Freetown, Balogun  believes the Eagles will come out top.

“Lesson to learn from Friday night: never let success get to your head and never let failure get to your heart.

“We will come out on top of this,” the Rangers defender wrote on his verified Twitter handle.

Meanwhile, Victor Osimhen will not feature against Sierra Leone after dislocating his shoulder.

By James Agberebi 

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  • Dr. Drey 9 months ago

    “Lesson to learn from Friday night: never let success get to your head and never let failure get to your heart”
    Aptly stated. Football is a 90 minute game….not 60 or 70. Go and redeem yourselves in Freetown.

  • pompei 9 months ago

    Fantastic attitude. We will continue to support you guys and hope for the best.
    Safe travels and best wishes.

  • presh 9 months ago

    My list Maduka,Ola/Tyroone,Troost/Akpoguma, Balogun, Collins,Semi Ajayi with Etebo,alex iwobi,Kelechi,Ejuke Musa














    • @Sportsfan your line up is Spot On I will have to concur that is the only line up that will get us out of this mess, I has been 2 days I am only beginning to come out of the shock and disappointment that calamity in Benin brought upon me the injury to my man VO9 and the come back of Sierra Leone was much. I will have to say GR was very incompitent with his tactics I mean it was a shocker this line up if GR wakes p and go for this Line up we can scale up. Musa can come in 2nd half.

  • Ayomide 9 months ago


  • Why are you all still excited about this team. Rohr will never take this team to the promised land. Can you observe:

    1. The team is increasingly finding bit difficult to hold on to leads. Ukraine, brazil, Tunisia sierra Leone. We were lucky against Lesotho.

    2. Rohr keeps giving foolish excuses that we trained for 1 day. I wonder how many days we can have to train. Confused Coach.

    We are losing against sierra Leone in the second leg except the players rise to the occasion. It’s not going to be about the tactics of the coach.

    A coach who has lots of talents like ours at his disposal must learn to be flexible and must learn to take risks.

    Ekong, ajayi, onuachu have no place in this team again.

    • Igbekun Abo 9 months ago

      Lolzzzz. This matter heavy for your mind o….

    • Ayphillydegreat 9 months ago

      Ok oo it’s not going to be about the coach tactics if we get a good result in Freetown??  It’s not the coach tactics that make them score 4 goals in 30 minutes??!  In the first half we had 71% possession of the ball. At least we’re getting leads, it’s not as if we mostly have to comeback from behind. Maybe they only have to do a good job at holding on to leads, which will determine the valuation of this team afterwards. If you feel Rohr can not take us to the promise land. Please Where is the promise land?? The standard of the SuperEagles is winning an AFCON and progression at the WorldCup. This team have already played at a WorldCup and claimed bronze at an AFCON. All this are the growing pains and they should learn from the experiences. Rohr already know most of our good players over the last four years, calling for his sack at this crucial time is the reason we missed out on 3 out of 4 AFCONS. 

    • Dr Drey 9 months ago

      Hehehehehe…it was the coach’s tactics that made Chukwueze, Iwobi and Sanusi to hand gifts to S/l to go and score the 1st and 4th goals nde……and Semi Ajayi to be ball watching and allow the S/l score their 2nd goal unchallenged despite his height advantage. LMAO. Since it is not the coach’s tactics that has been making us to win matches then it cant be the coach’s tactics that is making us to loose matches…LMAO. That was the same thing they used to say about Keshi too those days…”It is not his tactics that is making us to win, it is the boys individual brilliance…keshi is just a gather and play coach….he justs picks a starting 11 and the boys do their thing…..”Lolz.
      Lets start putting our monies where our mouth is.

  • Isaac 9 months ago

    Starting line up
    Awaziem Akpoguma Balogun

    Ebuehi Etebo Aribo Aina

    Iheanacho Paul

    • Simeonee 9 months ago

      You’re blaming Rohr, imagine your formation, how can you even mention Awaziem? That guy is the worst

  • Winsome Dude 9 months ago

    Yeah 3-5-2 or 5-3-2 is the best formation for this present squad.4-4-2 will not work for this squad because there’s no winger with better pace and clean square play. The goal minder is not to be blamed for the goals , once the defence line is exposed what can he do? The coach should accept the blame because he failed,his technical ability is Zero, wrong substitution. Ajayi is very slow and not aggressive at all. Awaziem or Aina or Ebuehi should have replaced Balogun and Akpoguma moved to the CB, The coach just ruined Okoye n Akpoguma home debut. pefered starting line up;
    Ebuehi Belogun Ekong Akpoguma Aina
    (Ndidi when he returns)/Etebo Aribo Iwobi
    Chukwueze Osimhen if they are available or Ejuke Iheanacho if not. thanks

  • Proudly 9ja 9 months ago

    Guys, as much as we are very upset from last Friday’s result, it is now time to rally around the team and let them know we understand things like this sometimes happen but they should rectify it. Millions are cheering them on to victory. There were many positives to take from the game last Friday. Nobody can say they have seen a better 45 mins than what those boys did last Friday, they bossed the game and even the 2nd half was not too bad other than the goals conceded. Yes, some errors were made and we paid dearly for them, the players need us to lift them. They have heard and felt our pain and I am confident that they will redeem themselves. GR now knows that the slightest fuck up, he is gone. The truth also is that we have been yearning for entertaining football which was what we got in d last game (atleast most of it anyway), I am a 100% sure if after 4:1 we had packed the bus, many here will still complain that we are packing the bus any small SL (me included), I think our boys were looking to score more goals hence why they kept pushing forward (Aribo and Etebo). I think Aribo also wanted to put his name on the scoresheet leaving gaps in the midfield. All the errors made can be easily rectified. Any team sleeping on 9ja bcos of the blip will definitely get a rude awakening. Infact I like many people underrating this team, hence the pressure will off. I personally back the coach to stay even tho I was one of his critics from the last game, I won’t deny the deficiencies but the positives in my view outweighs the negative. Many won’t agree but thats lives, we can always agree to disagree. SE vamos, Proudly9ja support una. Note if the team wins on Tuesday, mek nobody say nor be the genius of the coach ooo, also if the team lose we go also se na the coach fault. GR and SE mek una go there and carry the day, even if na 1:0, mek una win and qualify 1st and foremost, mek una no mind people wen dey se 4:0 or 10:0, just win 1st and qualify, 3 points na 3 points. When una qualify 1st then we go look into how the many of the deficiencies like not holding on to leads can be corrected. GR one last advice I go give u na always play guys for dia natural position and stop converting players. Am of the opinion that even if Ebuehi, Aina, Awaziem played that game on Friday, it wouldn’t have changed the outcome, but cos they didn’t play people will say it was cos they didn’t play hence the outcome. Carry go SE, NORIN DO UNA.

    • Winsome Dude 9 months ago

      It was simply a tactical error and wrong substitutions that cost us the game.Rohr kept experimenting. The set of players we have can defeat any in Africa but with the right formation and not playing them out of positions. The problem with him is that he doesn’t learnt from his errors, the same error he made at the world cup. Hope he learns from this.

  • Proudly 9ja 9 months ago

    Sportfan, I really like your line up alot nut I see GR going with a 433 formation tho. I see him playing
    Aina Ekong (AKPOGUMA) Balogun Sanusi

    A game like this is where Musa will excel, because he knows alot is resting on this game. He will play like he’ll on Tuesday. I was one of the many that criticized Musa’s invitation but Tuesday’s game is the kind of game that he strives in. He may score on Tuesday. People might not like it but Musa played well last Friday albeit he misplaced some few passes but he was always a willing runner and coming to the middle to receive the ball and try to initiate our attack. As much as I hate to admit it, his leadership was missed in the game. If you watch the game again, you will see him telling other players like chukwueze (wheNever he (SAMU) was out of position) to recover and help the defenders. Also when Iheanaxho replaced him, iheanacho didn’t contribute much, his 1st touch was to give the ball away. All the talk of Iheanacho as a support striker applied a few years back, he is now an out and out striker, that’s where he plays for his club, its only when Leicester is down that they pair him with Vardy. IMHO

  • Sunnyb 9 months ago

    Even with a win in SL this team is an average team, something is seriously wrong with this team, this team lacks confidence, lacks quality leadership, lacks serious playmakers, any coach inviting Onuachu for National team should be questioned, if Rohr plays Iwobi, aribo, and etebo  combo again in Freetown for 90 minutes they would be shocked again. U can’t play iheanacho, Iwobi, aribo, Ekong, Onuachu against a rugged african team an expects to win. Your need mobility and fighters in midfield to defeat a rugged African team, not this principal cup materials. 

  • Sunnyb 9 months ago

    @Ayphilly, my brother I’m sorry to disappoint you, this team is not going anywhere, unless they change the formation, bring in more ball hustlers, more business minded players, not these fancy  IG players. I try to support Rohr’ just as u and Dr drey preaches, but I think the man has ran out of fresh ideas, why inviting Onuachu all the time, why playing the trio of Iwobi, aribo and etebo for almost 90 minutes against leg breakers, we Need answers to this questions.

    • Proudly 9ja 9 months ago

      @Sunnyb, gr8 point as regards ball hustlers but based on the players in camp, who else will u add to the midfield, remember we only have Shehu as a natural midfielder. I will suggest Shehu for Aribo when he gets tired. I will admit that the coach made a mistake by only inviting 4 midfielders, going by the requirement of having 2 players per position, there are suppose so be at least 6 midfielders. But the coach made d call and we have to use what is available. The truth too is as you said we need ball hustlers, where are these ball hustlers (Azubuike is hurt and so is Ndidi). I won’t mind using Shehu in place of Aribo in the midfield to provide the needed grit, he can combine well with Etebo. Also Aribo can replace Iwobi in the 2nd half. We can also have Ejuke for Musa in the 2nd half to slow down the game if need be. If we are leading and chukwueze is tiring out we can even bring Ebuehi to replace him and assist Aina to provide an added cover, in this case Ebuehi since he overlaps will act as a winger. The right side was where the Lone stars operate mostly from when overlapping, that’s why Samu had that clear sight of goal and that’s where most of their crosses came from. Shoring that right side will be crucial. Sanusi needs to be told to stop ball watching, he needs to be told dat #3 spot isn’t his yet so he shouldn’t think its a forgone conclusion. 1st and 4th goals were his fault in my view. For the 1st goal, after balogun went to mark the 1st defender instead of Sanusi to pick up the attacker that eventually scored, he was ball watching and was too far from him. Fir the 4th goal, he just passed the ball to the SL forward. He is young and will learn from his mistakes. Yeah I also agree that the team is average but which team in the continent of Africa isn’t average,na Ghana, Algeria, Tunisia, Mirrors, Egypt, Cameroon, Mali, which? Player for player we are better than most of these countries. Most of our players if not all will make most of these countries 1st 11. Most countries dream of our average players. Jimmyball even said SL will be so hapi to have a player like Nwakali who only gets a few minutes in Huesca, thats how good we are atleast in the continent of Africa. Not in anyway saying that we are the best but we are better than most IMHO.

      • JimmyBall 9 months ago

        @proudly 9ja, @Sunnyb… Welldone for the objective contributions. From now on, we need to agree that Rohr should stop inviting only few midfielders… The confusing thing is Rohr with experimentation… He often invites 4/5 midfielders when we should be having at least 6 on each incite roll-call… We don’t know if Rohr is thinking of Semi Ajayi and Abdullahi Shehu now as defensive midfielders… it’s so Confusing how he keeps juxtaposing players around… We know there are some utility players like Shehu, Aina, Awaziem and Ajayi, but roles need to henceforth be clearly defined in line with where these guys play more for their clubs… that’s how to make the most out of them. I am beginning to believe that in the absence of Ndidi and before Azubuike gets fit again… We can be deploying Shehu at DM… a lot of people have attested that he played there in Turkey and now in Cyprus and that he is truly decent, apart from that he is solid having done well for us at right back previously where to me he was very good with forward play and sharp passes. Going forward let Semi Ajayi compete at CB… With all these confusion where we are moving Akpoguma also to right back… What are we going to do if we get Kingsley Ehizibue into the mix? Rohr has so much resources to deploy that man has become confused which is really sad… Shehu to me will do well in DM better than Etebo… Etebo should be playing in advanced midfield position to me… We should also know how to deploy our players based on the type of opponent we are against… An Aribo cant play the African muscle and bone-clanging game… they can’t adapt to it… Iwobi is not strong on tackles and ball winning… So in my opinion in African duets we should be looking at Ndidi first whenever fit in DM, followed by Azubuike, Shehu same in that DM position… for Attacking midfield we have to pick between Iwobi and Aribo and they can substitute each other in games being the two creative ones we have now… Right midfield(No. 8 in the modern game) should be a place for Etebo and the likes of Iheanacho… please let’s stop using Iheanacho as pointman… let’s lump him and Etebo to play similar advanced midfield role as I suspect Iheanacho may just explode in Advanced midfield position. When we do have Ejaria or Eze(if his head gets cured of confusion) we can then try a new tonic in midfield. Etebo is not good in defensive and tackling duties… He can shoot and knows how to aim for the goal he should be playing far up midfield not in front of defence… Finally now we understand that African football is not a romance game… It’s grit and power, even Messi of not protected by referees in African will go to hospital after games and no one will collect red card because of that… Who remembers the bite Chukwueze collected on his heels from the Sierra Leonian left back for wanting to play bigman delay in holding onto ball… Osimhen went to hospital and Balogun almost got a spinal cord from just two hits… Remember Taribo warnings that Aribo is soft… twice now against Benin Republic and the last game he has struggled. So the African game is a men’s game… recall Madagascar and Algerian bully game… nobody send your face in African game so Rohr should know how to look and deploy fighters… That’s my advice.

        • Dr Drey 9 months ago

          Hehehehehe….Jimmy has repented o. LMAO. Everybody eye don dey clear small small. See how he has been “pulling down” players with honest assessments of their game these last few days. So you can ever confess that “..roles need to henceforth be clearly defined in line with where these guys play more for their clubs..”…?! So Aina shouldn’t be played in DM anymore, Chukwueze should no longer be played in no 10 position anymore….Halleluyah somebody.!!!

  • Ayphillydegreat 9 months ago

    @Sunnyb. To be honest I don’t know how to quantify what happened on Friday. I’m still shocked up till this moment how the SuperEagles can throw away a 4 goal lead. It’s beyond embarrassing. The blame goes both ways, maybe some of the substitutions and leaving out our best options at right back while our midfielders are tiring. Etebo battled but he was overworked. Aribo and Iwobi should not be on the pitch for 90 minutes. I expected one of Ebuehi, Awaziem or Aina to come in for Balogun while Akpoguma pairs Ekong, then bring in Ajayi to replace Aribo so as to support Etebo in midfield. However, at that point we were leading 4-1. Therefore, we felt comfortable and throw the game plan away at that point. Like @Proudly9ja said above which African team is not average?? The ball hustlers you’re talking about are currently injured or just recovering. Azubuike, Ndidi and Azeez along with Etebo are the combative midfielders we have in the current SuperEagles. Only Etebo is currently fit so we can’t give what we don’t have in that aspect unless they’re all back to full fitness. Hopefully we get Ejaria by next FIFA window in March. We have players just coming into the team who are playing in Africa for the first time. It will take a few hiccups for team to blend into the rhythm. I still have tremendous hope in this team and games like this can only prepare them for the tough battles ahead. I believe we will qualify for the AFCON with games to spare despite this setback and I also believe this team is capable of winning the AFCON. Our standard is winning an AFCON and progression at the WorldCup, going by our performance in that first half this team is capable of achieving those feat. Anyone who want to underestimate the SuperEagles can do so at their own peril. Sierra Leone will have no place to hide on Tuesday because now we both have to come out and play. 

    • My brother, that Tuesday game dey fear me I swear. After I read one of Dr Drey’s comment some where today I decided to go look up the Siaka Stevens stadium in Freetown (venue of Tuesday’s return leg), I must confess I actually do not know which stadium to compare it with in Nigeria where we are complaining about Asaba and Benin pitch. An instant question that jumped at me was “would our players want to put their club career on the line on such a pitch???). I think it may just be a nervy game knowing the Lone Stars are used to playing on such pitches plus they have grown in confidence and will show us no respect. Gonna be a physically demanding game. I just pray we come out of that place unscathed and without injuries to any of our boys

  • Sunnyb 9 months ago

    My brothers, thanks for the candid and the mature contributions you guys rocks as usual, this boys are not making us happy with the tremendous support they’re enjoying from the Nigeria fans, I hope Rohr’ would be bold enough to make some changes in Freetown especially in the midfield. We need men in that midfield against those SL boys, Iwobi and aribo would be bullied and rob again oooo. We need Awaziem or Shehu in that midfield. Once again I hail you guys, Ayphilly, JimmyBall, Proudly9ja. I hail 

  • pompei 9 months ago

    Ejaria is a skillful, technically gifted midfielder. But I’m not sure he fits the mold of “battling midfielder” Ayphilly was referring to. The guy has actually lost a lot of weight this year, and looks quite skinny. I fear that the guy could be a lightweight against the average African opponent. Not skillwise. If you’re talking skill, Ejaria can mix it with the best of them. But if we’re talking physicality, I have my doubts! Imagine Ejaria in a midfield tussle with Kenya’s Victor Wanyama? That’s like a German Shepherd vs a Poodle. A Poodle is so beautiful, so sleek, so elegant, but can it physically stand up to a German Shepherd? Look at how Aribo has struggled against African opposition. And Aribo is a big, tall guy. Looks bigger and stronger than Ejaria. I think Ejaria should start devoting some time to gym work, to bulk up a bit. He will need it when it is time for him to represent Nigeria against African opposition! Michael Olise that we are all raving about is just as skinny as Ejaria. Two highly gifted, lightweight midfielders coming into the SE. They both need to start hitting the gym hard asap!

    • In my opinion, adaptability with African football matters most, hitting the gym wouldn’t guarantee that, adding more technicality in their personal development would shield every other setbacks in their games against African opponents. We have well built individuals that has failed to keep up with the required job of the midfield.

  • pompei 9 months ago

    It’s been almost two days since the miracle of Benin. We have all reacted to it in various ways. Anger, sadness, despair, disbelief. I have given it some serious thought, and I have come to realize that in sports, including football, things eventually come full cycle.
    In 1998 world cup, to the average Spanish football fan, Nigeria came “out of nowhere” to beat Spain 3-2, a team loaded with Real Madrid and Barcelona players like Fernando Hierro, Luis Enrique, Raul Gonzalez, Andoni Zubizaretta, Miguel Angel Nadal, Abelardo, Albert Ferrer, etc. To Nigerians, this was not a big surprise, as 2 years ago, we accomplished something similar at the Atlanta Olympics, beating world football giants on our way to the gold medal. But to the average Spanish fan, it must have seemed like the world was coming to an end!
    You can imagine how they must have reacted to that “disaster”. Perhaps their then coach Javier Clemente also received criticism and condemnation similar to what Rohr is getting now. The only difference is that the Spanish football federation president and the Spanish sports minister did not join the team in training before the game. Everything else is the same.
    Perhaps we are over-reacting. Of course, Rohr and the players deserve every criticism they are getting currently. But this is football! Especially nowadays, anything can happen on the pitch, anybody can beat anybody. Who could believe that Barca led by Messi can lose 8-2 and 7 nil to Bayern within a span of 2 years? I’m sure the man/woman that bet against Liverpool in their 7-2 loss at home to Aston Villa is a millionaire by now. What S/L did to us in Benin, we not only did to Spain in France 98, we did the same thing to Brazil at the Atlanta Olympics.
    So here we are. What we have done to others in the past, has now happened to us.
    For me, it is disrespectful to S/L to continue to feel insulted that they got a point in Benin. They earned it. They went about their business in a highly professional manner, and got a famous result. Perhaps they got a little help from us, with Rohr’s poor decision-making and the players’ numerous mistakes, especially in the second half. But they earned the result and deserve our respect.
    As we head into Freetown, we have to play them with respect. We also have to set ourselves up in a way that makes life difficult for them, and maximizes our chances of success.
    As I have said numerous times in the past, this Nigeria team is tough to beat when they line up with 3 center backs. The only team that has managed to beat us in the world with this formation is England at Wembley.
    I suggest a 3-5-2 formation.
    For goalkeeper, I think playing Okoye will give S/L a psychological advantage. Not that Okoye is not good. He is the future of our goalkeeping department. But for Tuesday, I would opt for Akpeyi or Osigwe, just to give S/L a different look.
    Ekong/Awaziem, Akpoguma and Balogun as center backs
    Aina and Sanusi as wing backs.
    Iwobi, Etebo and Aribo in the middle.
    Ejuke and somebody in the attack. Possible Chukwueze or Iheanacho.
    We will have to play a 90 minute game. In Benin, we were flying for 30 mins, then we took our foot of the pedal, and S/L took over for the rest of the game. A 90 min performance is needed, with 100% focus. Chances need to be taken ruthlessly when they come our way.
    The truth is that the game in Freetown can go either way. S/L are good enough to beat us. But we are also good enough to beat them. Who wants it more?

    • Hi Pompei,

      Really nice piece up there. Thank you. Please note, Rohr used the 3-5-2 formation in the second half only against England and that half ended 1:0 to Nigeria! He used the 4-2-3-1 formation in the first half (when England scored thier 2 goals).

      • Greenturf 9 months ago

        So if the 3.5.2 formation has been productive for Rohr why not stick with it,why adopting a different formation which doesn’t guarantee victory most of the time?

      • pompei 9 months ago

        Great point, Deo. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Hmmm I wont be surprised to see five defenders starting in tomorrow’s match. We clearly dont have any combative midfielder in the team and these SL players are very rugged so we need someone who can battle it out with them in midfield. I won’t call on shehu, I haven’t seen him play in dm before plus its been ages since he played in the team. I wont trust ajayi either, he is unpredictable and is a soft defender in my opinion. That leaves Awaziem who hasn’t played in that position as well but he has the ruggedness we need and he has been playing regularly for his club. He can shield the defence while allowing Aribo play his box to box game and etebo play in central midfield.
      Iwobi can play left wing, chukwueze play right, and iheanacho lead the attack. On the right side of the defence it has to be Aina because he passes the ball better than any of the other RB
      So the starting 11 can look like this:




      In the second half players like Ejuke, Tyronne, Akpoguma and yes even Musa and Onuachu (due to our depleted squad) can come in and replace chukwueze, aina, ekong, aribo, and iheanacho respectively.
      Im not expecting to see this formation but I think it has potential given the players we currently have and let’s remember if we don’t manage our players well in this game and another influential player gets injured (which I hope doesn’t happen) then it could be game over because its obvious our coach didn’t consider the effect of not have enough midfielders will have on the team.

  • Mr Hush 9 months ago

    It has to be stated that there is no need to panic about the game on Tuesday.
    With all due respect to the Leone stars,the game in Benin was won and given away at the same time by the Eagles. They simply let their guards down. The momentum dropped after the 4th goal was scored and they totally underestimated football (at the same time the opposition’s will) and her rules. It is not over till it is over. When the Sierra Leoneans scored their first goal. The belief was born. That belief was spurned on by the right changes made by their coach, Kiester; who correctly read the demeanour of our boys and felt the temperature of the room in tandem with our coach Rohr, who acted way too late and when he did,made incorrect calls and wrong substitutions.

    Emphatically; there is nothing special about Sierra Leone that would cause us so much panic. The worry should be on our boys mental state and their attitude on the day. And the hope ,the gaffer gets his selection right . But no matter what selection and formation been played that day; it all falls down to the will and attitude of the boys to get the job done. It is Sierra Leone! They 120 for a reason. They haven’t won a game for a reason! Even against Lesotho, at home!.
    We shouldn’t allow that anomaly derail us into been psychologically panic and getting to doubt the quality of our boys.it could be counter productive.
    We should keep our head high. Go play the game to the best of our ability. Get the job done. Remember,we did score 4 beautiful goals . Only this time, we should keep the tempo going till the final whistle . Do not let your guard down. Even if you are leading 7-nil; play like it is still nil- nil. We should learn to have such attitude. It would do us well going forward.

    We would win tomorrow.

  • Sunnyb 9 months ago

    @pompei, you nailed it bro, we need some Dogo Argentino in our midfield to battle the these African lions. These leg breakers must be confronted with men on Tuesday, I hope coach Rohr’s reading our posts 

  • _ Can the Super Eagles prevent a repeat of the “Blight of Benin”? _

    With a cross section of Nigeria fans still nursing the wounds gashed opened by the manner in which the Super Eagles allowed a 4 goals lead go up in smoke against The Leone Stars on Friday, only to settle for a damaging draw, beleaguered coach Gernot Rohr now says there will be a reaction from his boys.

    “I’m sure [the Super Eagles] will react [in the second leg of the encounter to put things right] because I know my team, I know what we can do, they showed it in the first half,” expressed the German tactician and you have to agree with him to a point.

    Because, indeed, the Super Eagles did browbeat Sierra Leone amazingly to 4:0 lead under 35 minutes only to collapse spectacularly afterwards (more so in the last 20 minutes after Musa and Balogun had been subbed out), blowing away the lead thereby blowing away their earlier momentum.

    Yes, if we are to be true to ourselves, there were positives to take away from that encounter.

    However, with the negatives far outweighing the positives, the focus from most fans’ perspectives is to rectify the shortcomings that gave rise to such a monumental collapse in our own backyard.

    Lost in all the fog of disappointment and bruised ego is that fact that Rohr has started trying out a 4-4-2 formation which provided ruthlessness offensively but frailties defensively for the Super Eagles. Having 4 players bearing down the Sierra Leone’s defence proved too much for them to handle leading to Nigeria’s 4 goals lead in 32 minutes

    Being thin in the middle (with Aribo not tracking back quickly enough and Etebo being able to be bullied off the ball easily) offered Sierra Leone their initial route back into the encounter – which they gladly took.

    Then you have wingers who were dispossessed off the ball (Chukwueze and Iwobi) and full-backs (Akpoguma and Sanusi) who lost their men to allow dangerous crosses to be delivered from their territories.

    The team also appeared to lack true leadership on the field after the departure of Musa and Balogun.

    If Rohr can address the shortcomings of his 4-4-2 formation and build on its attacking potentials (that helped the Super Eagles blitzkrieg to a 4:0 lead), then perhaps his team can avoid a repeat of Friday’s Blight of Benin.

    • Mr Hush 9 months ago

      I dare [email protected]
      I like the 4-4-2 deployed by Rohr. Playing with two man upfront;Osimhen been the pivot 9 while Musa playing just behind him and could play across the forward line,sometimes switching with Iwobi at the wings and also falling back to the midfield to add to the numbers at the middle. It is an all out attack formation. It suits us. No wonder it worked and we scored 4 good goals.

      Like I stated in my earlier write up; the problem with that match and the Super Eagles as it relates to recent developments is their attitude; they let down their guard too easily. Either by starting badly ;swaying momentum to the opponent or not maintaining momentum; thereby letting the opponents back into the game. It is all down to attitude.
      There in my fault on Rohr and his team. He should have known this by now and be firm on such issue as regards letting the players know or gingering them on during matches by communication or by making the right changes. His lackadaisical attitude towards this is not helping the fact that sometimes he gets his tactics wrong as well.
      Tactics could be fixed instantly but attitude must be driven. And Rohr should be that driver.

      The Super Eagles problem against African oppositions has nothing to do with physicality. Yes. The Sierra leoneans;(and many as such have);played physically but we were in control of that game for most of the first half. We have beaten alot of African side despite their physicality. Heck, the teams from the Magreb aren’t physical but Algeria is Africa champion.
      We have always succeeded over physically based on technicality and mental strength. It is our style. It has always worked. We should stick to it.
      I repeat.we shouldn’t panic over an anomaly and go play into their hands by playing their game. NO. We should stick to our style,make them play our game. All we need is the right attitude, mental strength and a bit of luck. We shall fly.

    • pompei 9 months ago

      I think physicality and stamina are important factors in football that can determine the outcome of a game. Cameroon played a robust, physical game to defeat Maradona’s Argentina in 1990. Skill vs skill, Cameroon stood no chance. But with their physicality, they forced Argentina into submission. Senegal applied similar methods with great success in 2002. So did Ghana in 2010. These 3 sides had gifted, skillful players, and played attractive, purposeful soccer. But if that was not working, they could resort to other means to get the job done. By other means, I’m referring to physical play, imposing their will on their opponents.
      To date, these are the only 3 African nations to grace the quarter finals of the world cup.
      Algeria, the current Afcon champs, play a combo of the high press game with physicality. They are very robust in the tackle, and the players have incredible stamina levels. Watch their games. This is why they have beaten Senegal, a strong, physical side with technically gifted players, back to back.
      Traditionally, physicality is not part of Nigeria’s repertoire. Neither is stamina, or cunning/game management. What we’ve always had is pace, skill, and a never-say-die attitude. These often work well for us, until we meet physically robust sides like Ghana, the Cameroon of the 1980s and 1990s, and other countries that play with physicality.
      Our best teams to date, the SE of 1994 and the Olympic team of 1996, had all the traditional Nigerian football attributes, but they could also be very physical when it was needed. Look at our players back then – Yakini, Amokachi, Okechukwu, Eguavoen, Oliseh, Finidi, Siasia, Taribo West, Emenalo, Nwanu, Keshi, etc. These guys were tall, muscle bound, physically imposing and ferocious tacklers. What they lacked was focus and game management, which was what stopped them from getting to the world cup final game, in my opinion. Could they have beaten Brazil to win the cup? We will never know!
      There were a few that did not look so buff and muscular. Names like Okocha, Kanu, Ikpeba, Babangida, Babayaro come to mind. But even these were no slouches when it came to contesting for the ball, and their stamina levels were very good.
      The one attribute most Nigerian teams struggle with is stamina. Our players struggle to keep up the tempo and maintain their advantage throughout a game. This is one of the areas I feel we really need to work on to take this team to the next level. With stamina and intelligent game management, this team of ours will become stronger. Without these attributes, we will continue to falter against quality opponents, drawing and losing games we should have won. The defeat to Italy at the 1994 world cup is a good example of what can happen without these attributes.

      • Dr Drey 9 months ago

        Hmmmm…….you just made goose pimples pop out of my skin. Those SE players back the were MEN….Mean looking MEN wey stand gidigba for ground like Gladiators. Our SE players nowadays nor dey even fit last 70 mins for pitch….sotey even north african teams like Algeria and Tunisia dey win 50:50 balls from our hand, come dey do jambody pass us. Or is it because we have more kids in the team now than back then….? What can we do about it….Do we need to hire fitness coaches now or what?

        • Dr Drey and Pompei, remember whenever Rufai and those other Nigerian gladiators step out onto the pitch, they looked physically imposing! Again Pompei, you touched on some key points up there (this matter is truly on your mind. :))

  • Kingston 9 months ago

    I’m just waiting for the Tuesday encounter before I will give my own comment.

  • Kingston 9 months ago

    @mr hush is a superb analyst. his comments are always acute, especially with the attitude part. as fans we could easily forget that football is a psychological game as well as physical. yaya toure was the best example of a African player whose attitude was always keen for victory.

  • Mr Hush 9 months ago

    Nice write up BUT
    I am glad you ended your piece with the infamous loss to Italy in 94.
    We had a very physical team yet lost that match simply because of indiscipline caused by attitude and mental fatigue.
    We simply switched off at the wrong time.
    You are very right . There should be a balance between both physicality and attitude to get the result one need;after all football is a physical game. But laying too much on physicality and stamina could be a draw back. The point is. Physicality isn’t the major problem of the Super Eagles. Attitude is!
    You should remember we won the 2013 Afcon based on our attitude and mental strength. We weren’t the most physical team but we were mentally ready all through.
    Yes stamina matters.like I said,without physical fitness football can’t be played. But it is the attitude that drives your actions on the pitch not necessarily your physical presence. You should have the will to sacrifice for the team when necessary or the point of your physical nature is defeated.
    You might be the fittest person in the pitch but without the mental framework you still lose.
    There is how far stamina can take you.Then attitude do the rest.

    We just need to work more on our attitude toward games. Work more on our technicalities. It is already a given stamina is required(or what’s the point being a footballer at the highest level).

    Much appreciation.

  • Proudly 9ja 9 months ago

    Just to summarize, as regards to players (not the coach), here are some areas the team in to improve on: Physicality, Mental strength (attitude), Fitness, and Stamina. GR over to u. These are gr8 suggestions that can be implemented easily. We need to understand too that in terms of physically, some club coaches measure the weights of their players too, Building muscle may lead to extra weight and declining speed, although a specimen like Adama traore of wolves has both physical presence and speed. regards to fitness, that 1 hr training session GR is doing should be scrapped, these boys require 2hrs of non stop football during training without throwing sef, where if the ball goes out for throwing a coaching personal throws another ball inside without the ball stopping. They should play sand football, these was how Brazil won 1978 WC, if u have ever played sand or beach soccer competitively you will understand how physically demanding it is. The only problem i foresee is just tge amount of time the coaches get to do all these things. 10 days isn’t enough after you consider all the things they have to do like watching videos, etc. This where the mental strength part comes in, each player should be responsible enough to take it upon himself to ensure they are in top shape fitness wise when coming to camp, the SE coach can then assess them through certain fitness routine to ascertain if the players meet those fitness targets. When players know there is a target that they have to meet when in camp, they will buckle up. Does anyone know the captain of Brazil team? No, there is a reason why each member or virtually each member has captained that team from Neymar to Cashmere to Allen to Marquingos to mention a few, this was to ensure that players take responsibility and to develop that leading qualities needed to will your teammates to victory even from the jaws of defeat let alone when u are up by several goal margins. Being a captain puts a lot of responsibility on your shoulders so if each member is a captain then each player is responsible for the team, that armband once worn is a big deal ask anyone that has captained a team (any team) before. Just thought I should add my own 2 kobo lol.

    As we have highlighted things the players have to work on, we should do the same for the coach. For the coach, the general consensus is that he tends to use players out of position, constantly inviting players who have flopped shouldn’t continue, maintain a playing an identifiable pattern and stick to it (352 or 442 but stick to one) so everyone knows this is the pattern. I personally think our pattern should be flexible and fluid enough to contain any team depending on that teams playing style, as against some teams a 352 might be better whereas against another team a 442 may be the better option. Just my own input

  • Sunnyb 9 months ago

    I’m glad you guys are beginning to see my points, Rohr should play 4 4 2 with men in Freetown not these shell cup players. Is like fighting a Dogo Argentino   with poodle. I don’t ve problems with Iwobi, aribo, iheanacho, Sammy, but these boys should not be playing 90 minutes against sub Sahara african teams. Especially Iwobi and Aribo. Awaziem, and Shehu should festoon Freetown. 

    • Uncle SunnyB , you know your views are always held with high regards. 🙂