Nigeria/Seychelles: Seychelles Match - the Five Things We Learned About Super Eagles

Soccer ball.
10 September 2018

There was nothing surprising about the result because Seychelles was made up of part-timers and the evidence was clear for all to see in the portly frame of their goalkeeper, who looked like a club bouncer.

The surprise was that the result was not any more emphatic but that could be explained away because of on a referee, who was not ready to protect the players from injury, high humidity, and the plastic pitch. Despite all these, there were visible things to learn.

Kalu is a real gem

In this days of regimented football played by trained athletes, the game cries out for the more talented, the players who can still drop a shoulder and ghost past their marker - the entertainers. Samuel Kalu is just 21, but he showed in the 85 minutes on the artificial turf in Victoria that he is a needed addition to the Super Eagles. Mobile, skillful and fast, he gave his marker a torrid afternoon's experience though one should dampen some of the enthusiasm because the opponents were Seychelles. Considering Victor Moses' retirement from the national team - Rohr can count on another right-wing dazzler to open stubborn defences with a bit of magic.

Ighalo scores almost one year to his last goal

It was not a vintage performance by the Super Eagles but the result - 3-0, was more important. For Ighalo, who had a poor World Cup, it was almost the same of the same until Kalu won the penalty and he scored. The Changchun Yatai striker has been prolific in the Chinese Super League but he has not been anywhere near prolific for the Eagles.

Can the 29-year-old lead the Eagles' line and get goals in tighter games? The answer is probably no because apart from the 2014/15 and 2015/16 season when he scored 17 goals in the Championship to help Watford gain promotion and 15 goals in the EPL were the only two seasons out of the 11 in which he scored double figures in Europe.

Idowu will not cut it at left back

It was a torrid afternoon for the Lokomotiv Moscow defender, as he could not get to grips with the game either defensively or offensively. Though the right-footed full-back played all 90 minutes, Rohr will look for a better option going forward.

Players like Yisa Sofoluwe and Manchester United great, Denis Irwin have played left back while being right-footed but they possessed a tactical know-how of the game that allowed them to adjust and play it. That has not been Idowu's case and the faster Rohr knows this - the better for the team.

No need of calling Ogu

What was the need of inviting John Ogu to the national camp when he won't get games? Before the match, I told a colleague Ogu wouldn't play and he scoffed, believing the absence of Mikel Obi should have given the 30-year-old Hapoel Beer Sheva a direct path into the first 11 but he didn't get on the pitch for all 90 minutes.

This begs the question of why Rohr continues to persistently pick the player. At the tail end of his career, Ogu needs to focus on himself and start thinking of the best way to pension himself. Rohr, meanwhile, needs to find a younger alternative.

Omeruo has not progressed

Kenneth Omeruo played superbly for the Eagles at the 2013 Nations Cup, where he shouldered captain Joseph Yobo into partial retirement but he is still playing at that same level and you begin to understand why Chelsea have not ensured he could stake a claim to a first team shirt.

His foul and subsequent yellow card coupled with his heading gaffe in the second half that almost led to a goal for the Islanders showed glaringly why he has not made the step up. He will, for the moment have a place in Rohr's team and serve as a substitute. As long as William Troost-Ekong and Leon Balogun are fit, Omeruo won't start for the Eagles.

The next matches are against Libya in October where the six maximum points would take the Eagles nearer to making another appearance at the Nations Cup.

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