Super Eagles of Nigeria may have failed in their bid to win the AFCON 2019, but they bagged a consolation – beating Tunisia to win the Bronze medal.
This provided a heart-lifting beginning for the Super Eagles’ young and fringe players like Victor Osimhen, Samuel Kalu, Alex Iwobi, among others.
As Nigeria fans look forward to a new era which the new generation of players will dominate, MATINS OBIWELUOZO takes a look at the three remarkable things that have taken place since Gernot Rohr took charge of the Super Eagles in the summer of 2016.
1. Players’ Roles (Positions) Conversion
This has taken place in the Super Eagles most especially under Gernot Rohr. Plyers like Chidozie Awaziem, Ola Aina, and John Ogu have seen themselves featuring in roles diffrent from their normal positions.
Eagles lynchpin Oghenekaro Etebo has been converted from his
main position to another one owing to his versatility on the pitch.
This may have produced positive results for players like Chidozie Awaziem and Ola Aina, particularly as the latter gave a good account of himself in the AFCON 2019 Group B game against Burundi with a special assist for Odion Ighalo’s goal.
But the same Rohr’s position conversion has affected John Ogu’s contribution to the team negatively and even made a player of his quality look rather average when he was moved to the left-back in a match, thus denying the Eagles a vital substitution option in the midfield.
2. Eagles’ Coach’s Seeming Inferiority Complex
Gernot Rohr’s reign has been marked by his consistent yielding of
authority to the other teams even before the matches were played.
This has been the bane of the Super Eagles under the gaffer as it has
affected Nigeria’s approach to matches. For instance, imagine Rohr saying that South Africa were the favourite against Nigeria.
This is negative pre-match submission against an opposition, not befitting of Nigeria’s standards and position in African football.
Such a defeatist posture may have cost the Super Eagles a chance of advancing from the 2018 FIFA World Cup Group D – a relatively (negotiable) easy group made of a weak Argentina side, Croatia, and Iceland
3. Conservative Formation Limiting Eagles’ Real Potential
The Super Eagles are brimming with abundant talents as the quality in the squad speaks a lot for itself. But Rohr’s level of conservation might have limited the team’s ability to thrive in transition.
That scenario played out to the disadvantage of the Super Eagles in the AFCON 2019 semifinal match against Algeria.
The manager has proven to Nigerians, that having a good set of players do not necessarily imply you will have a good team. It’s sad that the Super Eagles are in this situation, especially with the plethora of attacking talents available. The Gernot Rohr’s team could not even score from open play against Algeria.
This conservative measure were the reasons why the Eagles lost to
Argentina 2-1 and drew 1-1 with South Africa.
Rohr’s use of the 3-5-2 formation was a clear approach limiting his
team’s attacking strength as offensive players like Victor Moses
(against Argentina) and Samuel Kalu (against South Africa) were busy
defending against oppositions whom they would have confounded with a strong attacking impetus in the final third.