Super Eagles of Nigeria will begin the build up to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations with the dead rubber AFCON 2019 Qualifiers tie against Seychelles in March next year.
One area coach of the team Gernot Rohr has constantly talked about is the role of the main striker, which for now belongs to Chanchung Yatai forward Odion Ighalo.
Ighalo top scored for Nigeria during the qualifiers and in his absence Nigeria failed to score against South Africa with an own goal giving them a 1-1 draw which secured their spot at the Africa Cup of Nations.
The team fired blank without Ighalo in the friendly game further highlighting the importance of the former Watford striker to the team. Owngoalnigeria.com takes a look at some points coach Gernot Rohr need to consider before the Cup of Nations next year.
1. Osimhen Ahead Of Success – It appears the duo of Victor Osimhen and Isaac Success are in straight fight for a spot in the attack of the team. For now Osimhen looks a proper fit to the attack and it was glaring in the game against Uganda, where he led the lines better than Success. His ability to run the channel and press opponents from their half is no doubt what any attacker in the preferred 4-2-3-1 system of Rohr should do.
2. Simy Could Be Of Use Now – Crotone forward Simy Nwankwo struggled to make his mark in the team despite making the squad for the World Cup in Russia. His style of play depends largely on the players around him as he is a penalty box kind of striker. The Super Eagles now have wingers like Samuel Kalu, Samuel Chukwueze and even the full backs Jamilu Collins and Ola Aina have also showed their abilities when it comes to whipping in crosses. Something Simy would profit from if handed a recall.
3. Musa Should Play As Top Striker In Ighalo’s Absence – As said earlier Ighalo properly fits the style of Rohr considering how the team struggle to score in his absence. However if he is absent from the team for any reason, Ahmed Musa should be his natural replacement. He is quick and not scared of taking his chances, although it must be said that he is best when paired in a two man attack and not the lone striker role which Ighalo thrives in.
4. Defenders Should Attack More In Set Piece Situation – It’s alarming that Nigeria boast of defenders with impressive heights but none has been able to be effective at the opponent’s end. A system that will see them pop up with the odd goal during games should be worked out by the technical crew considering the amount of set piece they usually get in games.
5. Strikers Should Shoot More – Most goals scored by strikers of the Super Eagles since the appointment of Rohr have all come in the box bar the goal scored by Kelechi Iheanacho in the 1-0 win over Tanzania. Shooting from range and also when through on goal should be encouraged by the technical crew as they gear up to contest at next year AFCON.