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  • Sports - Football - Gossips
  • Updated: June 10, 2024

Four takeaways from Super Eagles defeat against Benin Republic

Four takeaways from Super Eagles defeat against Benin Republ

Only a combination of six wins in the rest of the World Cup qualifiers and results elsewhere in Group C going their way, may guarantee Nigeria's passage to the 2026 FIFA World Cup in the USA, Canada and Mexico. 

The Cheetahs of Benin Republic, Monday evening, at the Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan, defeated a laclustre Super Eagles side 2-1, their first win over Nigeria after 15 attempts. 

It is gloom and the signs are ominous. Nigeria may not participate at the 2026 World Cup just as they missed the prvious edition in Qatar.

Allnews.ng here looks at the takeaways from the loss to the side coached by former Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr. 

Setpieces

The Eagles still struggle to defend setpieces and the second goal scored by Steve Mounie was a pointer to that.

The defenders were men-watching and were not closing down on the Beninoise before Mounie stole the thunder and stabbed home the ball. 

There seems to be no clearcut tactical plans on whether the Eagles would man-mark or opt for zonal marking inside the penalty box whenever they had to deal with that aspect of the game. 

No leadership

Monday's defeat and the manner of it shows that certain players in the team that missed the games in Uyo and Abidjan were the cogs that bind the team and must be around for the forseeable future.

The absence of players like William Troost Ekong, Ahmed Musa, Moses Simon and Kenneth Omeruo due to injuries showed that there were no senior players to galvanise the team. 

Wilfred Ndidi was handed the captain's role but his performances in both games were at best average, and his said comments that playing in Nigeria should not guarantee a win is not ideal.

Ndidi is a very good player, no doubt, but he must raise his game going forward and show better leadership qualities.

Iwobi substitution

Finidi George kept shocking Nigerians with his decision-making and the plan to yank off Fulham star Alex Iwobi was one of them. 

Just when many Nigerians thought Iwobi's creativity would be needed with the introduction of Victor Boniface who ought to start the game anyway, he took him off. 

The attack would have feed of the vision and creativity of the former Arsenal and Everton star. 

Boniface, Dele-Bashiru on the bench

The decision to bench the duo of Victor Boniface and Fisayo Dele-Bashiru was damaging. If both were it enough to make the squad, why did Finidi not start, is a million dollar question.

These are international games which are limited within a specific window, not the marathon of league games!

Pride

Pride goes before a fall. Finidi boldly told sports journalists to let him do his job in a cocky manner. 

Same sets of people that could give him and his crew vital information about his opponents.

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