The first matches of the last matches of the group stage of AFCON start today. A look at how the Super Eagles plan to handle this game and lead group A.
There is no denying the fact that Guinea Bissau made a name for themselves when they trampled down the flaunting Nigerian team that was shocked right at their home. These Nigerian players are beginning to understand that it is a battle and they must get dirty to scale through the tough challenges these little football nations are now proving to be.
The Super Eagles had a game that was balanced against the host. It isn’t that they elevated their performance against the host, but the host was not able to match the tactical approach the Portuguese coach employed in this game.
Will the game against the Elephants be a flash as many Nigerians still believe, or is this Super Eagles team that is believed by millions of Nigerians home and abroad to not have impressed anyone, suddenly picking up form in AFCON 2023? The players have this point to prove to Nigerians.
If Troost Ekong is ready to lead his team of defenders in the brutal way they approached the last game, with Nwabali Sanusi, Aina, Ajayi, and Bassey, then the Super Eagles will prevail. Watching out for counterattacks employs discipline by not being caught ball-watching as your team attacks. The Djurtus are good at that. Coming out clean from the back requires some crazy tackles and defending.
Where the main battles in games are won is in the midfield. The options Jose Peseiro has tonight should be what his creative ability s head coach can guide him to selecting the best machines ready for this position. A deep analysis of his midfield in the past two games would tell him they are playing with a minus one in this zone. A player is seen not ready to sacrifice for the team but keeps starting games. Help the player and let him start from the bench and be strengthened from there. I keep saying, that the coach and the technical department selected this set of midfielders themselves and should know how to manage with them. The midfield would be Jose’s engine house today at the Stade Houphouët Boigny in Abidjan. When they aren’t able to keep up with the pace, then the team would be exposed again. A team should win the battle in the midfield, and that should be the Super Eagles of Nigeria. Baciro Candè, the coach of the Wild Dogs will come out hard with his boys trying to inflict damage on the Super Eagles tonight.
The wingers so far have not impressed in the AFCON 2023. Moses, Musa, Chukwueze are definitely game changers from the wings, and if Iheanacho can kick, he should also do his magic from that position. They definitely have to supply this strike force with good balls upfront.
The finishing zone of Nigeria has not yet clicked as expected. The Serie A offensive and destructive attacking force of Lookman and Osimhen have just a goal to their credit. This is the time to show some finishing class by staying calm when you have the last touch in front of goal. When this pair bites, then the goals will flow. The bench seems ready to add the needed bite with Moffi and Onuachu ready for action too.
In the end, 200 million Nigerians expect the Super Eagles to pass through the first stage of the 2023 AFCON in Cote d’Ivoire. Several Nigerians living in China are behind the Super Eagles of Nigeria to come out victorious against the Wild Dogs of Guinea Bissau by 6 pm Nigeria time and 1 pm China time.
The cracker tonight in the Group A will be the game between Cote d’Ivoire and Equatorial Guinea. Both teams have huge hurdles to cross. The Elephants have their ‘face’ to save right before their 29 million citizens, while the Thunders know they have a great chance to advance to the next round if they contain their opponents tonight. This encounter promises to see blood flow as both sides draw their swords in battle at the Stade Olympic of Ebimbè, Abidjan simultaneously, as the Super Eagles game will be played tonight.
Let’s have football fun and remember the “Let’s Do It Again” slogan tonight.