Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Pointers from Port-Harcourt

Sunday Oliseh finally got his first win as the coach of the Super Eagles as Nigeria beat Niger 2-0 in an international friendly at the Adokiye Amasiemaka Stadium in Port-Harcourt on Tuesday

Despite the win, the display was a bit tardy at times and Nigeria probably played their best football in the second half after Oliseh made some changes in the game.

With due respect to the Les Mena, they aren’t exactly the type of opponents that one would use as a yardstick to measure how far Oliseh’s team has come, but a win will surely soothe some frayed nerves.

The goalless draw in Tanzania was greeted with a lot of cynicism from Nigerian fans who felt the team were lucky to get a point in Dar es Salaam after putting up a timid display.


Oliseh will definitely welcome his first win as it will get fans off his back as he keeps tinkering with the team with the aim of getting better before the next round of qualifiers commence in March next year. picked up some pointers in the international friendly against Niger which might probably interest Sunday Oliseh and his assistants.


The player affectionately known as ‘Daddy’ is finally proving himself as one of Nigeria’s brightest youngsters in recent times.

The diminutive striker, who can also play as a winger, made his Super Eagles debut this year against Uganda in Uyo and was one of the better performers that night as the Cranes upset Nigeria 1-0.

Injuries have hampered his development and he had a tournament to forget at New Zealand 2015 as the Flying Eagles, despite initial promise, crashed out of the tourney to Germany.

Simon’s introduction in the second half of the friendly with Niger enabled Nigeria to change gears and increased their attacking threat. He capped an impressive performance with a sublime goal -- his first for 
Nigeria at this level, as the Eagles coasted home.

The KAA Gent player is very fast and packs a repertoire of tricks in his arsenal. His enthusiasm and willingness to take on defenders falls well within Oliseh’s ‘fast’ philosophy. We haven’t seen the last of him.


Sunday Oliseh rang some changes from the team that drew with Tanzania over the weekend as he continued to tinker with his lineup.

He started the Niger game with three players from the Nigeria Professional Football League and they more than held their own in the game.

Chimas Akas from Sharks Football Club of Port-Harcourt, Usman Mohammed of FC Taraba and Solomon Kwambe, who plays for Warri Wolves, played from the start and did more than enough to impress.

Bature Yaro and Prince Aggrey came on as substitutes later on as their showing was a testament to the improvement in the league.

Oliseh will do well to continue with this trend as it will create more depth for the Eagles and make the battle for berths much more competitive.


Nigeria need to go back to the basics which made past national teams successful on the continent and the international stage.

The Eagles have been known to have a bevy of wingers who were the fulcrum of the team and contributed to the various successes of past teams.

Adokiye Amasiemaka, Finidi George, Emmanuel Amuneke and Segun Odegbami are some wingers who have made the Eagles tick back in the day and that philosophy has always brought laurels for the country.

Most of Nigeria’s enterprising moves in the Niger game came through the flanks as Ahmed Musa and Moses Simon - in the latter stages of the game, conjured up the Eagles' best chances.

Nigeria need pacey wingers who can take on defenders and whip in a decent cross for the attackers to feed on. We need to get back to the basics.

A quick look at the stats from the Eagles' last 10 games will show 73 percent of goals came directly or indirectly as a result of moves from the flanks.
Surely this is an indicator to point out the fact we need to start playing to our strengths. It is a potent alternative.

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