Bafana Bafana expose the cracks in Rohr's Super Eagles
NPFL By: Imo-owo Mbede | 12/06/2017
The Super Eagles' loss to the Bafana Bafana in the opening qualifying match for the 2019 African Cup of Nations was the first in a competitive game. This loss was masterminded by Stuart Baxter, the same man who was in charge the first and only other time they beat the Nigerians during the Nelson Mandela Challenge thirteen years ago.While Baxter may be lauded for his uncanny ability to demystify the Super Eagles, there is ample evidence that the current Super Eagles team led by Gernot Rohr also played a part in its misfortune last Saturday. Despite a hitch-free preparation for the match, certain inherent factors worked against the Super Eagles.InexperienceThe team is still relatively new and is largely composed of young players, and so does not have that character as yet. The absence of most of the senior players at the game only served to worsened the situation. Captain Mikel Obi, Carl Ikeme, Leon Balogun and Victor Moses, who are undeniably the spine of the team, were all sorely missed in Uyo. There was no Ikeme and Balogun to arrange the backline, no Mikel to dictate the pace and for creativity in midfield, and there was no Moses to inspire the attack. Against South Africa, Nigeria paraded a team of too many young players at the same time without an inspirational figure or leader on the battlefield.Quality How many Super Eagles players of the last decade can walk into the starting line-up of the Super Eagles team of the 90s? Very very few. The Super Eagles has been bereft of sufficient world class players for over a decade now. The story is the same in the current crop of Super Eagles which is composed predominantly of players who are either yet to attain their full potentials or are on the verge of a decline.Poor formation and team tacticsNigerian football has always played a default 4-4-2 or 4-2-4 formation. Suddenly we switch to a 4-3-3 at this coincides with our worst era in football... Team formations should devised based on suitability to available players and not the reverse. Game tactics should be tailored to specific opposition, and should be varied depending on match situation and outcome. There's no rule that says the team must play a 4-3-3. The Eagles could perhaps have fared better if they deployed the wings in a 4-2-4 or 4-2-2 formation. On the evidence of the match, the pace of Simon Moses, Ahmed Musa and Henry Onyekuru on the flanks, would have stretched the compact South African defence, especially with the lack of creativity and penetration centrally.