Nigeria’s start to the 2020 African Nations Championship qualifiers was nothing short of a calamity. A 4-1 loss to Togo was seen as a crushing blow.
The side now have a mountain to climb to recover from this defeat in the return leg.
Some may blame Imama Amapakabo’s tactics for undermining the players’ ability to showcase their quality. But at the end of the day, whether the game plan was right or not, the players must at least be able to execute simple tasks such as receiving and passing the ball, or even just running. All it takes to run is your leg and your desire. Something the whole team threw out the window midway through the second half.
Here is Futbalgalore.com’s view on five things Nigeria can take away from this debacle.
Ibrahim Sunusi looks a star
Sunday saw an exciting young player give the most high-profile indicator yet of his talent. Ibrahim Sunusi, scored the Super Eagles’ solitary goal in Lome. The 17-year-old’s goalscoring exploits have also included 10 goals in last season’s NPFL. He was also on target when the Olympic Eagles annihilated Sudan U23 5-0 in Asaba. Sunusi ooks set for a big future.
John Lazarus was Lost on the Right
John Lazarus pretty much disappeared. Question marks remain over his inclusion. He was too slow to beat anyone with pace, and he didn’t have the touch to combine with teammates when pressured by the energetic Togolese team. Lazarus only runs in straight lines, something that is not an issue when playing at the zones but extremely crucial while playing out wide. Without his varied runs, his game lacked another dimension, making him extremely predictable and easy to mark out of the game.
Ikechukwu Ezenwa – A Huge Miss in the Heart of the Defence
The goalkeeper is crucial as a last line of defence. When you have someone everybody can trust, confidence spread through the back line, making defending much easier. Ikechukwu Ezenwa is that man for Nigeria, but, unfortunately, he sat on the bench.
Theophilus Afelokhai may have not made many mistakes, but he didn’t play well either. He simply doesn’t offer that aura of authority and confidence that Ezenwa does.
The Hawks Were Simply Hungrier
Togo didn’t beat Nigeria 4-1 because of luck, or because the Hawks was poor. The ‘Hawks’ were just hungrier and more motivated than their opposition. They adopted a compact shape, relentlessly pressing the technically excellent Eagles to stop them from playing.
The Players Giving Up
In football, mistakes happen and refereeing decisions can go against you. However, as a player, you are expected to keep your head up and soldier on. Sadly, all the CHAN Eagles players just mentally collapsed after Richard Nane goal made it 2-1 right.