Former Super Eagles defender and legend Taribo West has given his verdict after Nigeria’s defeat to South Africa in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
Bafana Bafana picked up a 2-0 win and three points in Uyo, and in the process ended Gernot Rohr’s unbeaten Rohr since taking charge of the Super Eagles job in August 2016.
While most have linked the shock loss to the absence of influential captain John Obi Mikel, Taribo believes the absence of defender Leon Balogun was a bigger loss to the team per Osas Mahawi [owngoal Nigeria].
Taribo said, “The midfield was porous no doubt, and maybe Mikel would have made them to be compact and more disciplined. However the defence is one area where we showed immaturity not expected at this level.”
“Leon Balogun absence was badly felt by the team, even in midfield. His ball from the back usually sets the tone for Nigeria to attack yesterday the young boy (Awaziem) tried doing it but not quite as good as Leon.
“I once said Leon brings out the best in William Troost-Ekong, some thought it isn’t so, but after yesterday we all can now testify to how pivotal Leon is to Troost-Ekong in the heart of the Eagles defence.”
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