Poland, Serbia Friendlies Show Eagles’ Need For Seasoned Defenders

Poland, Serbia Friendlies Show Eagles’ Need For Seasoned Defenders

The all-important March international friendlies have come and gone. The Super Eagles made do with the opportunity as a build-up to the June World Cup kick off.

The defensive frailty was rightly exposed during the friendlies. We threw this question before now, in the absence of Shehu Abdullahi, Leon Balogun, Williams Troost Ekong and Elderson Echiejile, which other formidable defensive back four can we call on?


Russian based Brian Idowu who came in place of experienced and influential Elderson Echiejile was below average in both games where he started.

Brian’s game was characterised by uncompleted passes, wrong positioning and less support to the attacking intentions of the team.

The two games yelled for an experienced defensive knight and Elderson would have been the soothing option nevertheless, the coach had other ideas.

The same stick can be used on Tyronne Ebuehi whose leaky position was severely exposed by the Serbians which resulted in Mitrovic’s brace.

What about the ineffective communication between Williams Troost-Ekong and Chidozie Awaziem, Hibernian’s Efe Ambrose would have replaced Leon Balogun better.

Though as Nigerians would like to believe that anything is possible (anything like beating Argentina and Croatia with ease) which is a positive approach, however, in these games a shaky defence can spell terror for the whole team.

When the chips are down, Rohr should look to his experienced and matured defenders to get the job done.

The goalkeeping conundrum continues. Francis Uzoho continues his baby steps towards life as a Super Eagles’ first choice goalkeeper someday; unfortunately, the World Cup has come too soon for him.

Ezenwa will probably do better but is definitely not the answer either – ditto for Akpeyi – going by performances in the qualifying rounds and other friendly matches under Coach Rohr.

Yet Coach Rohr has not thought it wise to at least assess Dele Ajiboye if he cannot rise above the pettiness in the Football Federation and demand the invitation of Vincent Enyeama.

Gernot Rohr was named Coach of the Super Eagles in August 2016, and in nearly 20 months following that announcement.

He has transited from masterminding a tension-soaked lone goal victory over Tanzania at home to upturning a 2-goal deficit into a 4-2 victory over world vice champions Argentina.

Coach Gernot Rohr qualified the Eagles for the World Cup with a game to spare while breeding probably the youngest team in recent history.

We expect a better showing in subsequent friendlies before the World Cup kick-off.

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