With the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) now underway, and Super Eagles will continue their campaign against Guinea on Wednesday, there are several discussion points on the minds of several fans following the unconvincing 1-0 victory over Burundi in their opening Group B game. We take a look at 8 of these issues.
As with every team, a long list of questions often flow around the minds of fans everywhere. Who will play? How far will the team go? Which tactics will be used? As Nigerian fans everywhere hold their collective breath in anticipation of the Eagles’ second fixture, there are some personnel questions that ought to be contemplated.
Has Gernot Rohr Placed Too Much Faith in his Young Guns?
With an average age of just over 24 years, this is certainly a very young Eagels squad going into the competition. As is often the case, experience in knock-out tournaments can never be over-stated. Regardless of whether this young squad thrives or folds in front of the continent, it is clear to see that strong foundations are being built for the Eagles, and there remains the strong possibility that this team will form a strong cohesive unit in the not-too-distant future.
How Will Daniel Akpeyi Perform in Goal?
The Kaizer Chiefs goalie produced four great saves, including a one on one stop. Akpeyi had some nervy moments to deal with. He not only usurped Francis Uzoho in goal, but is also Rohr’s first choice ‘keeper to manage the defence at the 2019 AFCON. There is much pressure placed on the shoulders, or gloves, rather, on the former Warri Wolves shot stopper
Can Samuel Chukwueze replicate his Form to the AFCON?
Undoubtedly, Villarreal’s Samuel Chukwuwe was the Eagles’ in-form man in Europe. Some scintillating displays by the former Diamond FC player had seen the Yellow Submarines beat the drop in the La Liga Santander. Chukwueze had a lively first half against Burundi but went to bed in the second stanza. Much of the Eagles’ success will rest on the creativity of the youngster.
Will John Obi Mikel Prove doubters Wrong?
Another player crucial to the Eagles’ goal-scoring opportunities will be the man that played a huge role in the 2013 AFCON success. He was below par in the win over Burundi.
Can Odion Ighalo Rise to the Occasion?
Arguably no other player in the Nigeria squad will feel as much pressure to deliver as Odion Ighalo. After disappointing campaigns with the Eagles in past tournaments, this will be another shot at being a central figure to the Nigeria quest for silverware. He began the tourney with a match winning strike for the Eagles in the 1-0 victory against Burundi.
Can Ola Aina Live Up to Expectations?
Having improved exponentially in the past couple of years, the once anomalous figure in the Chelsea squad has gone on to be a main stay on the Eagles starting XI. A player that can play in the middle of the park, or as a full-back, at a young age, this AFCON 2019 can have a large say in the direction of Aina’s Eagles career. The Torino defender has a chance to announce himself on the world stage. His back heel assist to Ighalo was world class.