Indispensable Mikel, Four Other Takeaways From Super Eagles Friendlies Vs Poland, Serbia

Indispensable  Mikel, Four Other Takeaways From Super Eagles Friendlies Vs Poland, Serbia

Following the Super Eagles’ two friendly games against Poland and Serbia ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, completesportsnigeria.com’s JAMES AGBEREBI lists FIVE takeaways from the games…….


The 19-year-old was in goal for both games against Poland and Serbia showed promise but cannot be relied upon at the World Cup.

Despite his huge frame he struggled at set-pieces, his decision making his poor, deliveries to outfield players is also poor.

After his outings in the two games, it is evident Uzoho though talented, is still bags of nerves and does not inspire confidence in his rear guards.

It would be a huge risk to make him number one at the World Cup where he will come up against the very best who would punish every slip ups.

As it is, Ikechukwu Ezenwa or Daniel Akpeyi would now have a chance to slug it out with Uzoho for the number one jersey following his average showings.


Without their inspirational skipper, John Mikel Obi, the Super Eagles struggled to impress.

Mikel’s leadership, direction, organisation, calmness, experience and inspiration was greatly missed against Poland and Serbia.

Due to his absence, there was no link from the midfield to the attack and also the defence had to endure waves of attacks from both Poland and Serbia.

The likes of Wilfred Ndidi, Ogenyi Onazi, John Ogu, Joel Obi had to put in a shift to cover up for Mikel’s absence which affected their own play.


In both games against Poland and Serbia, the Super Eagles were second best in terms of ball possession.

The Super Eagles did a lot of running, closing down, tracking back, markings but struggled to string two, three passes together.

Against Poland last week Friday, the Eagles were outplayed 56 per cent to 44 per cent in ball possession but still went on to snatch a 1-0 win.

But against Serbia on Tuesday night, they were deservedly beaten 2-0 after securing 44 per cent as against their opponent’s 56 per cent.

The games are a timely eye opener as the Eagles must improve ahead of their World Cup clashes, most especially against Croatia and Argentina, teams whose style is possession-based.


Another area that must be addressed by the Super Eagles’ coaching crew is the area of attacking and also defending set plays.

The Eagles never looked threatening whenever they had a corner-kick or were awarded a free-kick close to the 18-yard area of Poland and Serbia.

There was hardly a moment in both friendlies where the Super Eagles looked like scoring from these positions.

And at the other end, they were always all over the place when defending set plays which also exposed one of Uzoho’s weaknesses.

At the highest level like the World Cup, set plays are very key in deciding games especially when getting goals in open play becomes difficult.

In order to take advantage and also not be found wanting, the Super Eagles must find a way to address this.


Despite their short-comings in their two friendlies, the Super Eagles will be a tough team to beat when hostilities begin in Russia.

What they lacked in ball possession, smooth transition from defence to attack, they made up with relentless pressing and tireless running.

What this means is that the team is very hard working, committed and would not lie down to be rolled over in Russia.

The important thing for Gernot Rohr and his crew to do is work on the lapses noticed during the two friendlies and we will have a better team.

Fastest Paying Betting Site in Nigeria: Grab your 140% First Time Deposit Bonus Now — www.Sportybet.Com

Copyright © 2021 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.



  • Toluwase 3 years ago

    It’s high time you pressed the reset button Mr.Gernot Rohr. At least six of the players that featured against poland & Serbia including the subs were not meant to be in that team.

  • Toluwase 3 years ago

    It’s high time you pressed the reset button Mr.Gernot Rohr. At least six of the players that featured against poland & Serbia including the subs were not meant to be in that team

  • Ndubest 3 years ago

    Thank you for this comprehensive analysis you are on point. Its obvious we need to work on the goal area. The team is not a bad one am confident we are going to cause so many teams problems. Angentina lost heavily but with messi in their subsequent matches they will be a solid unit same to nigeria with Mikel coordinating things and balogun, igalo, moses, and a better keeper we are ready to go.Iwobi did well yesterday and can fit in well in Mikel position when he’s not available. Watch out for better super eagles at the world cup. I remembered before Atlanta when Togo beat us in a friendly match 3-0 most football fans wrote the team off but what happened? Nigerians are good in writing our team off after unimpressive outing whether friendly match or not. Egypt has lost two friendly matches but their football fans are still very optimistic about the chances of their team. This team is on mission we may not win world cup but we will do well mark my words.

  • Mr. Rohr pls try and bring Sparta
    Rotterdam Captain
    Belgian-born Nigerian
    midfielder Ryan Sanusi to the super eagles. Formation 4-3-3 was confusing the entire team.Joel Obi, Ahmed Musa and Awaziem are not world cup materials so they have no business in this team, we need a creative midfielder, a top strikers and outstanding defenders. Efe Ambrose, cyriel Desser, Obafemi Martins and fonandi Adi should be given a chance. We still need Enyeama in this team.

    • Tipsyboy 3 years ago

      #Elishamoses, All these player you mention please go to you youtube and watch their recent matches and current club statistics.

    • Tipsyboy 3 years ago

      #Elishamoses, All these player you mention please go to youtube and watch their recent matches and current club statistics.

    • Chima E Samuels 3 years ago

      Yes Martins all d way spot on bro

  • Bomboy 3 years ago

    This article is spot on. No one could have put it better.

  • ALFREDINHO 3 years ago

    During the two friendly games(Poland and Serbia ) the absence of Mikel was greatly felt as there was no free flowing football all our midfielders were defensive minded thereby causing some problems . The attackers were starved of the ball upfront .Please Gernot Rohr should look for capable replacements for Mikel as he is aging .
    Jack Ipalibo of Villarreal( Team B) should be looked at for Mikel’s future replacement . Ryan Sanusi should be given a look too .

    • charles emeka okwu 3 years ago

      Ryan sanusi is a defensive/central midfielder

  • Gbenga 3 years ago

    I weep for my football-loving Nigerian brodas.This is bcos we are just like waves.A coach who listens to us will use his hands to scatter his own job.We once sang d praise of several players in d Super Eagles team including Daniel Akpeyi.But these players now have terrible names attached to them by us,especially,Akpeyi being called bad name such as Akpeyi basket and so on and so forth.Now,we are gradually changing our praise songs to songs of crucifixion for players such as Joel Obi,d thought-to-be messiah,Uzoho,Awaziem,Ebuchi and some in d team.We have now seen what happened in d game against South Africa repeat itself against Serbia.Am happy for Akpeyi for not being in goal that day.We have been calling for his head,maybe we could have called for his life after d match.We keep forgetting that a good Keeper with a poor defense and midfield is in trouble.Unfortunately,we have nearly killed d international career of Akpeyi through criticism,while he keeps doing well in his club.Who will do well,when u know about 150 million people are looking for every opportunity to nail u?I pity d young man.Let’s wait and see where d messiahs and supermen players who are not prone to mistakes,especially under huge criticism,will come from! Wishing d Super Eagles d best in their preparation for d World Cup in Russia!

  • Bestsports. 3 years ago

    Operation search and find a deadly number 9 and a fantastic goalkeeper. Yes Efe Ambrose and Adi and that cyril dexer guy should be obversed if they can meet up to demands of solving some problems. Coach Rohr should check obagoal fitness and aiyenugba and Ejide conditions fitness wise because if these guys are fit wow! All problematic positions are fixed atleast for the world cup proper only. World cup ain t for rookies and learning of football business. Reality check. NFF should start thinking a little bit.

  • Adeyemi Temitope 3 years ago

    Coach Rohr, my advice to you you goes as follows:
    1: From the goalkeeping side, call a spade ♠ a spade ♠. Please don’t hide Akpeyi just to take him to world cup. Give room to this 3 young goalkeepers ; Uzoho, Ezenwa and Alampasu. Believe you be a legend in Nigeria football. Let Uzoho still retain his number one position and let Alampasu fight to see if he can wrestle it from him. From me in goalkeeping is either Uzoho or Alampasu.

    2: Defence. Our defence is very good but we need a strong deputy who can perform at per with the starters! So in defence we are very much okay in this department.

    3: Midfield. If you look at Nigeria at the world cup history makes me know that our problems start when our reliables our taking away owing to injury or the likes. I will implore Coach Rohr to look good substitute for Obi Mikel on time YES you now have Joel Obi and I love his contributions to the team but I still will suggest NWANKALI to play offensive Midfield for us.

    4: Strikers. Believe me we have NO Strikers expect Ighalo. Others in that team are supportive and it’s dangerous to have Ighalo as the only striker going to world cup. I will suggest Victor OSHIMHEN. Believe me this boys will be a Joker if Coach Rohr can get a psychologies to start speaking to them and assuring them of the role they are to play at the world cup. I am talking about the youngest boys among them which were Uzoho, Alampasu, Nwankali and Oshimen. Believe me this guys can just be a world cup winners with this right mind in place. Let me give Coach Rohr my World Cup team.

  • Adeyemi Temitope 3 years ago

    My Preferred Super Eagles list to Russia 2018 World Cup. THE FULL LIST Goalkeepers:Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna, Spain); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba FC); Dele Alampasu (CD Feirense, Portugal) Defenders:Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Tyronne Ebuehi (Ado Den Haag, The Netherlands); Olaoluwa Aina (Hull City, England); Elderson Echiejile (Cercle Brugge KSV, Belgium); Brian Idowu (Amkar Perm, Russia); Chidozie Awaziem (Nantes FC, France); William Ekong (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Leon Balogun (FSV Mainz 05, Germany); Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa FC, Turkey) Midfielders:Mikel John Obi (Tianjin Teda, China); Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor FC, Turkey); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (Las Palmas, Spain); Ryan Sanusi ( Sparta Rotterdam, Netherlands); Joel Obi (Torino FC, Italy) Forwards:Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Moses Simon (KAA Gent, Belgium); Victor Moses (Chelsea FC, England); Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai, China); Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England); Junior Ajayi (Al Ahly, Egypt); Kelechi Nwankali (MVV Maastriht, Netherlands); Victor Osimhen (VFL Wolfsburg, Germany)

  • Hope Odianosen 3 years ago

    Oga Adeyemi, world cup is not a party 4 the children, but 4 the experienced ones, Osimhen would not be different from Adepumi Femi of 2002 world cup, Kelechi Nwakali would not be different from Lukman Haruna of 2010 world cup and Alampasu has not played a single match 4 his club this season and taking those players to the world cup will be a suicide mission. As 4 the list of players you suggested, i think Nwakali Osimhen, Echiejile, Alampasu, Awazim, Musa and Ighalo should not be there.

  • Good analysis from the writer, you just did a thorough x-ray of the team and with good suggestions .I think Ezenwa is still the number one keeper and Rohr should do away with some rookies in the team and maintain his first team .

  • ako amadi 3 years ago

    Every time Nigeria plays a game the post-match analysis concentrates on the performance of individual players. We forget that FOOTBALL IS NOT ATHLETICS, IT IS A TEAM GAME. The problem with the Super Eagles is how to mix the right chemistry for success. That is partly the work of the coaches, but also the individual attitude and mentality of the players – their ability to play to instruction, not to panic and lose control. It’s a tall order! The Nigerian is culturally an individualist who works poorly within a system. I hope the players have enough professional qualities to adapt to team strategy, and stop kicking the ball aimlessly into open air like what we saw in the last two friendlies. When a team loses, everybody loses. Let us discuss more about team cohesion and spirit, and stop singling out individual players for praise or condemnation. With what we saw this week, Nigeria may not make it out of their World Cup group. Yet people are saying we could win the tournament. More humility and hard work, less arrogance and talking is needed.

  • ojo Samuel 3 years ago

    …to me Adeyemi temitope and GBENGA has said it all…let uzoho still be our no 1 our first team nw is good but we need good back up…then our offensive midfield should be composed of Mikel and iwobi with kelechi nwakali as back up….our major problem is that no 9 position… I suggest ighalo should be back up or paired with the likes of adi, dessers or obagoal martins which to me is the best of the options…

    Those calling for experience are not football erudites…it was experience that killed us in the previous mundials…I will never forget shorunmu havoc in 2002, yakubu and Danny shittu in 2010 and yobo in recent 2014..

    na unity and talent dey win game…why is France not clamouring for old chaps

  • Buhari 4 2019 3 years ago

    I think eagles are already set for 2022 with d team list up there. By 2020 most of dis players would have moved to d best team in urope league. Like bacelona. R Madrid. Chelsea man city Liverpool b Munich. Juventuus. Borush dmod. Ajax. Milan. By den uzoho in baca.ihnacho m city . Moses Chelsea. Etebo juventus. Ekong in live rpol ndidi liverpool. Iwobi in b munis. Aina in Chelsea ebusi in Ajax umar in millan. Osime in bya umish .awoniyi in Liverpool blogun borus dmod