The Super Eagles called up 23 overseas-based footballers to contest against the Central African Republic on matchday 3 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers – akin to using a sledgehammer to kill a mosquito, no offence intended towards Nigeria’s opponents.
The deed is done, and lots of Nigeria’s taxpayers’ money is being spent; therefore, the fans need something in return from Gernot Rohr and his players.
We want entertainment
The last five years of Rohr’s reign as the gaffer of the national team has witnessed effective football rather than an entertaining spectacle.
The Eagles are ranked the 34th-best team in the world while Thursday’s opponents-Les Fauves (Wild Beasts) of the C.A.R are ranked as the 124th-best.
There should be no contest but with the money being spent, the least the fans expect is to be entertained. Let the Eagles show their superiority in more ways than scoring the needed goals. Let the fans’ sighs-oohs and aahs fill all of Surulere.
Squad value: Nigeria – $265 million; C.A.R – $347,000
Start Iheanacho in the No.10 role and play two strikers
One way of ensuring more goal attempts and maybe more goals is to deploy more payers close to the CAR box. Iheanacho has shown his eye for goal in a slightly withdrawn role which his club manager, Brendan Rodgers has commented on.
Blessed with a football brain that can unlock defences and shoot from a distance, it will be expedient for Rohr to deploy the Leicester forward in the No.10 role with two targets ahead of him; maybe Victor Osimhen and Taiwo Awoniyi.
Do something different to throw the opponents off in their prepared match plan.
League goals for Iheanacho, Osimhen, and Awoniyi = 10
Post-match should not be about injured and missing players
The absences of Wilfred Ndidi, Alex Iwobi, and Oghenekaro Etebo should not cause alarm bells to go off in the Eagles camp as the composition shows there are more than enough talents to adequately replace the missing stars.
The pedigree may not be the same but all three missing have at one point been neophytes on the national stage.
No matter the result, Rohr cannot afford to allow his post-match conference to be about how the Eagles missed the three injured starters.
Chidera Ejuke, Joe Aribo, Frank Onyeka, and so on, can fill the void
Don’t turn the second leg into an emergency
No matter the strategy or tactics deployed on Thursday, the Eagles must gain confidence from their outing and the result. A fine score line heaps doubts on the Wild Beasts going into the second game on Sunday in Douala.
The Eagles cannot afford to give any sort of hope to their opponents and that will only suffice if CAR are ‘humbled’ on Thursday.
Prediction: Nigeria 5-0 CAR