By Richard Jideaka, Abuja:
Former African Coach of the Year Kadiri Ikhana has urged Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr to return to the wing play that helped Nigeria qualify for the 2018 World Cup if his team nurses the ambition of reaching the knockout stages in Russia, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Ikhana, a former Eagles defender and Enyimba coach, came to the conclusion that the Super Eagles will not make any head way if they continue to attack with wing-backs, after watching two of their most recent games against Czech and England.
The Super Eagles lost both friendly matches, 2-1 To England last Saturday and 1-0 to Czech Republic on Wednesday.
“Except we revert to our wing and our tight defensive style that gave us the World Cup ticket, I’m afraid we’ll most might likely need a miracle to qualify from our group,” Ikhana, who led Enyimba to the CAF Champions League title in 2003, told CSN.
“The coach meant well by playing three men in the central defence but the truth is that we don’t have the quality to play that pattern.
“To play that pattern, you need good wing-backs that have pace to support the attack as well as fall back to help the defence. You also need a sharp attack to excite that pattern. Honestly if Rohr goes ahead to play this pattern, it will take a miracle for the Eagles to make it out of the group.”
Ikhana maintained that the Eagles that played England and Czech lacked a leader who can inspire the other players.
“There is no leader in this team. Mikel and Moses who are supposed to be are not doing that and the team looks like a team without a shepherd. Either of the two must take responsibilities on the pitch as leaders,” he addeed.
He also frowned upon the way the Super Eagles start poorly in the first half and end up chasing the game in the second half, adding that teams like Croatia and Argentina will exploit this weakness and the Super Eagles might never come back.