Coach Manu Garba and his boys got off to a poor start in their first game of the WAFU B U17 Championship taking place in Niger Republic as qualifiers for the African Youth Championship billed for Tanzania.
Nigeria were beaten 2-3 by their counterparts from Burkina Faso and Owngoalnigeria.com noticed five things about the Nigerian team during the course of the game.
1. Defence Need Sorting Out – The manner which the Nigerian team went two goals down inside the opening 15 minutes of the game clearly shows their frailty in defence and that is one area of the team where the coach has to sort out before their next game against Ivory Coast.
2. No Real Top Striker In Attack – The hallmark of most Nigerian team at the U17 level is usually the presence of a top striker who guarantees goals. Sadly the team that played against Burkina Faso yesterday only lacked a striker of such. Their main threat came from the flanks.
3. Poor Team Shape – As much as they were enterprising in going forward, they look disorganized without the ball and when under pressure. The third goal scored by Burkina Faso clearly illustrated the poor shape of the team when they pour forward to attack.
4. Lack Of Physical Presence – The Nigerian team were no match for their counterparts from Burkina Faso in physical duels as they rely mostly on their ability on the ball. They lost virtually all their aerial duels to their opponents who were much taller.
5. Set Piece Taker Missing – The amount of freekicks and corner kicks they got during the game would have resulted in at least a goal if only they were decisive in their execution. With a proper plan on execution of set piece they will no doubt make headway as their skills on the ball will surely draw fouls.