2019 AFCON: Warning Signs for Super Eagles

By Daily Sports on June 18, 2019

Views: 329

Nigeria’s loss to Senegal in their latest international friendly prior to the kick-off of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt in a few days’ time is open to several interpretations. One, it can be viewed as a mere friendly and in which the result doesn’t matter. After all a number of teams have done well in friendly games only to fall flat when it comes to the real deal of tournaments and vice versa.

Friendlies are often an opportunity to try different tactical formations as well as playing personnel before the main event, and when things don’t work in a friendly, there’s the possibility at times to shake things up. At times, that is.

Outcomes of friendly matches can also mirror a true general state of a team and no matter what is learnt, real and effective changes may not be able to be made before the main competition kicks off. A bad passer of the ball, for example, may not turn a good one before a competition proper after a friendly game, even with some micro coaching to that effect.

So where does this all leave one as regards the thoughts about the loss to Senegal a few days ago? The Super Eagles have struggled in their last couple of games, even at home to Seychelles, Egypt and Zimbabwe, failing to register convincing results in those games.

Now the loss to Senegal further tells of a team that is struggling still trying to grasp what exactly their tactical identity should be.

There are a number of top quality players in the Super Eagles but it is cliche to point out that a spluttering of good players doesn’t make necessarily a good team.

German Technical Adviser of the Super Eagles Gernot Rohr is a smart man and has improved the Nigerian national team from a tactical standpoint, but every national assignment is fraught with serious demands and he simply has his work cut out to fashion out a winning strategy for Nigeria in Egypt.

It’s not going to be an easy task at the Nations Cup to say the least, especially giving the fact that there are other African countries who present genuine threats.

Losing to Senegal in the friendly should serve as a lesson to the Eagles to get their acts together and be more united to achieve to common goal of bringing bring the Nation's cup to Nigeria.

I prefer however to share the optimism of formed Super Eagles great midfielder Mutiu Adepoju who argues that the Nigerian senior team can soar in Egypt despite the setback if losing to Senegal.

“It will be unfair if we judge the team by the outcome of this encounter because this is a process of preparation and the players are trying to be careful not to get injured,” Adepoju told Goal.

“Senegal are a very strong team and I’m very sure that the game would have opened the eyes of the technical crew on where the Super Eagles need improvement.

“Another good thing is that we now know how the Senegalese play because it’s likely we face them during the course of the tournament,” Adepoju said.

Nigeria will come up against AFCON debutants Burundi on June 22 at the Alexandria Stadium, before facing Guinea and Madagascar in other Group B clashes.

Fly high, Eagles, fly.

Source Daily Sports

Posted June 18, 2019


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