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5 Things Learnt From South Africa – Nigeria AFCON Qualifying Clash

5 Things Learnt From South Africa – Nigeria AFCON Qualifying ClashSamuel Kalu vs Percy Tau

Completesportsnigeria.com’s ADEBOYE AMOSU highlights five key lessons learnt from Super Eagles of Nigeria 1-1 draw with the Bafana Bafana of South Africa in Saturday’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying clash at the FNB Stadium, Johannesburg. ..

1. Kalu Thrives In New Wing-Back Role

Most ardent followers of Nigeria’s Super Eagles were surprise to see the Bordeaux of France winger play in a new right wing-back position against the Bafana Bafana of South Africa.

Kalu was favoured ahead of Torino of Italy defender, Ola Aina for the position and he proved his versatility by handling the task with dexterity. His cross was diverted into the net by a South African defender for Nigeria’s only goal of the game and he was lively all through.

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5 Things Learnt From South Africa - Nigeria AFCON Qualifying Clash

2. Musa Still Going Strong Despite Saudi League Switch

Many questioned Ahmed Musa’ decision to move to Saudi Arabia after his impressive showing for Nigeria at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. To them, playing in such an obscure league after his ill-fated move to English Premier League side, Leicester City, will adversely affect his game, but ‘Alhaji Musa’ as he is fondly called by some of his admirers, has continued to prove all of them wrong.

Against Bafana Bafana on Saturday, his pace and trickery were just too much for the opposition to handle and he was denied two good goals as a result of a questionable calls by the officials. Who says Musa is finished?

5 Things Learnt From South Africa - Nigeria AFCON Qualifying Clash

3. Hot And Cold Iwobi

The Arsenal man started Saturday’s game brightly but fizzled out completely afterwards. It was a surprise Iwobi stayed long on the pitch before he was replaced by Semi Ajayi in the closing stages of the game. To be the number 10 Super Eagles’ fans are craving for, the Arsenal man will need to be more consistent in his game.

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John Ogu

4. Super Eagles Missed Ndidi, Ighalo

The duo of Wilfred Ndidi and Odion Ighalo have proven to be key members of the squad in recent times. Ighalo, after a shambolic showing at the World Cup in Russia has rediscovered his scoring form and netted six goals in his last three appearances for the Super Eagles.

He was absent against Bafana Bafana due to injury, and was sorely missed as his replacement, Kelechi Iheanacho was poor all through. The Super Eagles’ attack looked redundant in his absence except for Ahmed Musa who threatened the opponent a couple of times.

Ndidi missed the game due to suspension, and the duo of Oghenekaro Etebo and John Ogu failed to gain foothold of the midfiled in his absence especially in the first half.

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5 Things Learnt From South Africa - Nigeria AFCON Qualifying Clash

Super Eagles starting lineup vs Bafana Bafana

5. Mikel Obi Still Needed In The Team

The Nigeria captain of the team is yet to appear in any of the qualifying games. Mikel’s last appearance for the Super Eagles was against Argentina in June. Eagles have won three of their last four games in his absence, but the Tianjin Teda of China midfielder’s experience and cool demeanour would still come in handy especially with Iwobi’s inconsistency.

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  • Aleks 2 years ago

    Considering Iwobi’s background and age, the high altitude definitely affected him more than any other eagles player on that pitch. That certainly explains his dwindling input in the second half.
    (Ikpeba had similar experience on the same pitch in 1993, and could not last beyond the first half. Even Amokachi who was also very young then, was simply kicking the ball out to kill time during the second half of that game in 1993)
    Iwobi is still the star man of this present Super Eagles squad. I believe Nigeria and the world are yet to see the best of Alex Iwobi!

  • Correct Aleks. I expect the writer to know better about Iwobi.

  • Actually, I didn’t watch the match due to other commitments however from what I have read that highlights I have seen thus far, here are the five things I learnt.

    1) 3-5-2 formation works: this formation appears to bring out something different in Rohr’s Super Eagles. From the highlights, I saw a lot of crosses whipped into dangerous areas (one which led to the own goal). I like it! With those kind of crosses flying about like a stray bullet, strikers like Simmy or even Ighalo can profit.

    2) Wingers as wing-back: I have always been a fan of using out-and-out wingers as wing-back in back far. We saw how Idowu was useless as a wing-back in the world cup. With 3 defenders, I thing we could afford to have Kalu on one wing-back and Moses Simon/Onyekuru/Imoh Ezekiel on the other wing-back. The fluidity and crosses would be too much for many teams to handle.

    3) Iwobi not the complete number 10: I have said it before and will say it again. The level of consistency and natural orientation required to operate as the ideal number 10 are not yet possessed by Iwobi. The Arsenal rising star is very skilful but needs more homework, practice, training and concentration to operate as the creative fulcrum of the Super Eagles.
    He may come to possess the full repertoire of skills to operate as a number 10, but not yet. As the article above states, he still “blows hot and cold”.

    4) Rohr’s late substitution syndrome continues: According to Premium Times, and I quote, “Iwobi was so poor, he could have been replaced in the 30th minute but the German trainer waited until the 92nd minute to make the change.” One wonders why he waits so long to make substitutions.

    5) No goalkeeper crisis in the Super Eagles: Yes, Uzoho, Ezenwa and Akpeyi are not world class goalkeeper but judging by the reviews I read, Ezenwa, who is 3rd choice in his club and hasn’t kept competitively for months, did a pretty decent job. Akpeyi could have done a decent job as well as Theophelous.
    At the moment, the Super Eagles have 4 decent goalkeepers so injury to Uzoho should not cause the sort of ludicrous panic that we saw in the lead up to this match.

  • Bishop 2 years ago

    Spot on. Iwobo, iheanacho, flopped. I expected more fight from the eagles and ogu in particular.

  • Jones 2 years ago

    Don’t forget the horrible officiating that caused us the win.

  • Isaac 2 years ago

    I disagree with Iheanacho’s rating here. Apart from the miss,he was okay. He made some lovely and sleek pass interchange with Musa, that resulted to Kalu’s curling ball which was saved by the South African GK,he also created the chance for Musa with the defense splitting pass that resulted in the first goal that was disallowed. He had a decent game.

    • I saw him have a heavy touch in the 18 yard box which, if properly controlled could have been a different story.
      Iheanacho is not a bad player by any stretch of the imagination. However his inconsistency is impossible to overlook.
      A simple ball that he should have controlled before unleashing a shot was fluffed which brought back to life the ghost of his performance against Argentina at the world cup.
      Still, I agree with you that overall, his performance was decent.

      • Isaac 2 years ago

        Yes Deo, I was responding to some analysis here that said he had a poor game “all through.”
        And of course, I agreed with your point by saying “apart from that miss.” I was surprised at what happened. The moment Musa released the ball to him, I was confident that he was going to score because I never doubted his finishing capabilities, but his first touch on the ball let him down. Nigeria may have won if he didn’t cancel that chance. But his other contributions were okay.

  • onyeagoro Johnson Chima 2 years ago

    That second offside goal was correct judgement by the linesman. It could have been a goal if Musa who was on offside position left the ball for Iwobi to score, but he decided to score it instead of leaving it for Iwobi who ran in from the pack to score.

    • Jones 2 years ago

      Lool it shows you don’t know what offside is at your age. Even the South African commentators agreed that musa was onside. So what jargons are spewing now ? Clown

      • Jones 2 years ago


      • Abah-fada 2 years ago

        Why are you insulting someone on public space, that is his opinion in analysing the game. You should have ignore his comment, or be more positive and constructive in your argument.

        insulting a fellow forumites simple because his opinion diffs from yours or others is way out of it.

        Please don’t do such here. Thank you

    • Dr. Drey 2 years ago

      Hahahahha… Hehehehe…..oga… Please go and watch the highlights of the match again on YouTube… I bet you will come back here wishing you can delete this comment… Lolz

      • Oga Chima, if you watch the match highlights again with a fresh pair of eyes, you would unequivocally come to the conclusion that the second disallowed goal was not an offside.
        We are make mistakes thus in the heat of the moment, you may have thought otherwise. It is not an excuse for the rather disrespectful feedbacks you received.

  • He was offside but later stayed on before the ball was played…go back n watch it well. ..another error from you is…Iwobi gave the assist to Musa and Success. 

    • Brutus 'the barber' Beefcake 2 years ago


    • Jones 2 years ago

      Don’t mind the clown.

      • There is no reason to call him a clown Mr Jones. You are a fool. Have you never made a mistake.
        In fact, you are the clown Mr (Indiana) Jones.

    • Gunners 2 years ago

      Mr Sean, Nobody was offside in the second goal. The issue of He offside before and later stayed inside should also not arise. For you to be offside, you must interfere with the play at your current position when the game is in play. It was very obvious that when Iwobi threaded the pass, all Nigeria players who interfered with the play was inside. So the determinant factor here is interference. It was a very big blunder from the officials, though it happens everybody in soccer and nobody is perfect.

  • The Iwobi u re talking about was responsible for most of the incisive pass in that match. I think what the writer could have said is that he should work on his ball holding techniques and his physiques. He gave the ball away cos the south Africans players are more physical. Overall it was a good performance fro both him and Iheanacho.

  • Iwobi this, iwobi that…Most people criticising iwobi don’t know technicality in football.Iwobi is the most creative and skillfull player in super eagles as far as I am concerned.

    He might not flourish in the game because most people expect a lot from him.Again he made that penetrating pass which musa scored,but due to bad officiating the goal was disallowed.

    IWOBI!!! is the biggest Nigeria player.Can someone mention any other name that is bigger than IWOBI in the current super eagles team? Why I say so:

    He is well know globally

    Modern day football, Yes you play with Names

    Skillful and Creative.

    Who else can replace IWOBI in that match on the reserved bench.He might not flourish in a match but in a blink of an eye he can be so dangerous with his creativity and skill. And the earlier we start shaping iwobi into that role the better for us. Mikel obi have hint us enough that he is done with the National team.He is only a ceremonial player now.