World Cup: Understanding Super Eagles loss


First, we must understand that Nigeria makes impact by producing very creative players over the years and they bring individual fire into the team such that even if the team is not coordinated well, the individuals would bring that extra thing that is Nigerian. The likes of Okocha, Kanu, Taribo West, Amuneke, Keshi, etc, usually bring something rare in the team.

For years, Nigeria no longer produces such calibre of players and we have no programme super youngsters. We get players by accident.

Next, the quality is below Argentina (world number 5), Croatia (number 18) and Iceland (22) when we are number 48. So, if a number 48 surrenders to number 18, it would be normal. Anything else is would be a surprise.

Okocha has given the technical aspect which is the formation they used; 4-4-2. He has said this ruined both Iwobi and Moses. He said the system was used to suit Mikel but it sacrificed two creative attackers and removed Nwankwo, the new sensation.

Mikel is slow and strange to attacking 10, but would have been better staying at defensive midfield with Ndidi and also locate with passes. Mikel would attack when he likes but Iwobi would have sat on top of Mikel and work with Moses to terrorise any defence.

The real reason however is that Nigeria never gets a standing team that would be tweaked from time to time. The coach met the players in the middle of the world cup qualifiers and is just knowing them. Getting their real wings is difficult. He won the qualifiers because his plans were new to the continent. Now, in the world cup proper, the stakes are higher. The team needed to be playing big matches many times before arriving at the real system.

Rohr knows that Nigeria is porous but adventurous. They usually make reckless mistakes which other teams exploit. So, as a German and European, he wanted 4-4-2 to build a compact midfield that would not be massacred. He achieved that, but Nigeria shines in attacking format that frees the men and allows them to dance on the ball.

The system clipped the wings and the flair of the Super Eagles. If they played their system, they would look entertaining and good, but, truth is, it is not correct they have won. It could have been 4-2 or 3-1 in favour of anybody.

Next match, we will see how it goes.