5 Takeaways From Super Eagles Win Over Hosts CIV In AFCON 2023 Clash 

5 months ago
2 mins read

Despite the anxiety before the matchday 2 game at the 60,000-capacity Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara on Thursday evening, Nigeria’s Super Eagles defeated hosts Cote d’Ivoire 1-0 in their second Group A game of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

Jose Peseiro’s team are now joint leaders with Equatorial Guinea who trounced Guinea Bissau earlier in the day.

Prime Business Africa’s Izuchukwu Okosi makes his observations from the nervy clash.


1. Eagles Still Need Creative Midifelders

Alex Iwobi is the attacking midfielder spearheading most of the chance creations but aside him, there is no other of great quality.

The Eagles playing in a 3-4-3 formation when attacking but 5-4-1 when they lose possession, were able to match the Ivorians in terms of defending and breaking up plays but their final balls were still not excellent.

They gave away the ball a couple of times in the middle of the pack highlighting the need for a midifeld maestro in the ilk of Jay Jay Okocha.

Nigeria lost that kind of player in Eberechi Eze to England.


2. Defensive Solidity 

The need for more creativity is a given but Jose Peseiro’s decision to approach the game with the 3-4-3 formation worked to the tee.

It afforded the team a chance to defend in numbers and draw out the Ivorian defenders from their defensive area for the likes of Victor Osimhen to exploit.

The Nigerian side scored from one of such moments when Osimhen was fouled inside the box by Ousmane Diomande leading to the VAR call for a penalty advantage to Nigeria.

3. Bassey, Lookman Prove Case For Foreign-born Nigeria Players 

There has been criticisms on the decision of Super Eagles coaches of late to convince players born of Nigerian descent to represent Nigeria rather than seeking allegiance in other countries.

While not all of such playera have proven to be hits, the likes of William Troost Ekong (who scored the decisive goal via penalty), Alex Iwobi, Ademola Lookman and Ola Aina have proven go be good calls made.

The country lost talented gems like Bukayo Saka, Eberechi Eze, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori (England), Jamal Musiala (Germany), David Alaba, Junior Adamu, Naoh Okafor (Austria).

Of the names mentioned, if things had worked out and at least three of them played for the Nigerian national team, the quality would have been better.

That’s what the duo of Calvin Bassey, Ola, Aina and Ademola Lookman proved with their impressive perofemances in a major tournament as the Afcon in Cote d’Ivorie.

Victor Moses could have played for England but the forward whose parents are from Kaduna state was a good story from this narrative and was part of the 2013 Afcon triumph in South Africa.


4. Nwabali’s Impressive Outing

Chippa United goalkeeper Stanley Nwabili had an impressive game against the Elephants.

Making his debut appearance in a, major tournament for Nigeria, the goalkeeper made several saves to deny the Ivorians.

Nwabili was great in one-on-one situations and smothered some long range shots directly at goal albeit he was not adequately tested with curling shots aimed at both sides of the goal post.

Good start in his international career.


5. Osimhen Injury Scare

African Footballer of The Year award winner Victor Osimhen was substituted off in the 88th minite as he signaled to the bench for an immediate substitution.

The SS Napoli star had an ice pack on his left thigh when he came off the pitch.

Coach Peseiro would hope that the setback is not enough to stop his talisman from playing further part in the tournament.

Osimhen was subbed off for Paul Onuachu who was a late replacement in the squad for Sadiq Umar.

Izuchukwu Okosi is a Nigerian sports and entertainment journalist with two decades of experience in the media industry having begun his media journey in 2002 as an intern at Mundial Sports International (MSI) and Africa Independent Television (AIT), owners of Daar Communications Plc.


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