By Taofeek LAWAL (08053074114 text only)
“VICTORIES are not born on the field. You create them during practice, DAY IN AND DAY OUT” -Silvia Pencak Scoring one out of six is a total failure and is not acceptable. What always lead to this path goes with a popular saying which goes thus, “Failure to prepare is to be preparing to fail” or better put, a fire brigade approach will not result into anything good but failure. The Super Eagles’ friendlies with African champions, the Fennecs of Algeria and Tunisia’s Carthage Eagles on October 9 and 13 respectively have clearly showed that ‘footballingly’ (pardon my use of words), Nigeria has not got it right as we want to. Although, the lacklustre performance of the boys were corrected in the second game, one is yet to be convinced that these Eagles can fly in any high octane competition. God forbid, should anything happen to the likes of Winifred Ndidi, Joe Aribo, Oghenekaro Etebo, Victor Osimhen, the Eagles will be grounded with no wings to fly when it matters most. The lackadaisical and the laissez-faire approach of some players were glaring and I know Nigerians will agree with me that ‘these players’ should not be part of the senior national team again. The technical deficiencies and match reading ability of Rohr were called to questions in the two games. I continue to wonder what former captain and now assistant coach, Joseph Yobo, was doing on the bench if he cannot make any impact during the matches. Is Yobo in the Eagles’ technical crew to fulfil all righteousness or to just make up the numbers or Rohr did not take his inputs?.We have seen in games how assistant coaches influence their bosses’ decision to change the course of a hitherto difficult game and win it. However, we can still take some positives from the matches and give Rohr a ‘little’ pat on the back for inviting players who gave outstanding performances and deservingly deserves another call up. The flashes displayed by CSKA Moscow’s Chidera Ejuke (I have already dubbed him the new JJ Okocha, watch out for him), the brilliance of Zaidu Sanusi (here to keep Jamilu Collins on his toes), the magnificent saves from Maduka Okoye (remember he is just 20) and the-above-average-performance of Kelvin Akpoguma (he is a centre back not a right back), we saw that when Leon Balogun was substituted for Chidozie Awaziem. Alex Iwobi deserves all accolades for his confidence and top-of-the-world display in the two games. Players such as Paul Onuachu, Mikel Agu should be excused from the Eagles and Samson Tijani come in lieu of Agu. There is no gainsaying in the fact that team captain, Ahmed Musa and Kenneth Omeruo have past their primes and need to be replaced henceforth. Moses Simon, Samuel Kalu, Samuel Chukwueze and maybe Chidera Ejuke are perfect replacement for Musa. For Omeruo, Semi Ajayi, Kelvin Akpoguma and Williams Troost-Ekong are on ground though we still need more defenders to be scouted whether in Nigeria or offshore. We still need lethal strikers in the form of Obafemi Martins of yore to give Victor Osimhen a sleepless night in the attack. Kelechi Iheanacho could still be relevant in the Eagles if he is deployed as a supporting striker but he needs up his games. And back to Rohr, he must improve on his deficiencies especially on late substitution. There is one more thing, the Franco-German gaffer should give us a substantive number one goalkeeper which he has not done since becoming the Super Eagles coach in 2016.