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5 Things We Learned from Super Eagles Friendlies in March



Nigeria 1 -  0 PolandNigeria 0 - 2 Serbia

Former Super Eagles coach Samson Siasia said that international friendly matches are good, it gives the handlers the opportunity to assess the strength and weakness of the team. Both friendlies Nigeria Vs Poland, as well as Nigeria Vs Serbia were good test for the Super Eagles. The standard of both matches were high and the teams featured most of their first team players.

We may say the result didn't matter because it was just friendly matches and not the World cup proper. However, there are lot of lesssons to learn. Speaking with several coaches and football analysts, we came up with five lessons we learned from the friendlies in March.


1. The world cup promises higher Quality of Football: Watching Nigeria play Poland and Serbia as well as other friendlies in March we discovered a lot of countries have actually improved their football. It is no longer the Big strong national teams dorminating some football weak nations.

 That means Gernot Rohr, Nigeria national team head coach must build the fittness level of his players...and only players that meet a certain level of high standard should be selected, those players who are ready to give 200% and to play for each other.

 No match in Group D will be easy for the Nigerian side, so players must be ready for war... ready to give their all and to "die in the field."

2. Super Eagles Team lean too much on few players. The team is greatly weakened when any of these three players: John Mikel Obi, Victor Moses and Leon Balogun are not playing. Super Eagles coaches must come up with Plan B...how the team can cope without these key players.

The World Cup matches are very stressful games and there are bound to be fatigue as well as knocks after few games. With players like Victor Moses and Leon Balogun already "prone" to injuries, the coaches must come up with quality replacements or alternative formation and match plans when these players are not available to play.

3. Nigeria Team is Too Young and Inexperienced for the World cup: This may be my own personal opinion. Arguably though, but I feel Nigeria may have to bring two or more experienced players into the team or we may end up playing boys against men. There are a lot of young players still learning the rope in the Super Eagles team. Players that should be tried in U21 or U23 national teams...from Tyonne Ebuehi, Francis Uzoh to Mikel Agu, Brian Idowu, Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho...


We discovered that there's only one outright striker in the Super Eagles  team. If Odion Ighalo isn't firing or even get a knock,  then Rohr will be using attacking midfielders to play the role of a striker. Kelechi Iheanacho or Ahmed Musa are not strikers!With the kind of formation Super Eagles prefer playing 4-2-3-1... we need not just a striker, but a fast feet shooter and a fighter upfront. We have players like: Brown Ideye, Obafemi Martins, Emmanuel Emenike and Young, Henry Onyekuru... the coaches may consider to get into the team.

4. Super Eagles weakness at the midfield were greatly exposed in the two matches. We saw both Ogeniyi Onazi and......struggled with pace and possessions, and it was so difficult for any coordinate play although the two matches.

We all know in football that the midfield determine the character of the team. We think more work should be done in our current midfield structure. Lets give more playing time to John Ogu and Oghenekaro Etebo...we need men who can win as well as hold the ball without being intimidated.

5. Moderate Fans Expectations: Finally, in a funny note, we feel the friendly matches will help Nigerian fans moderate their expectations. Our high expectations that Nigeria will lift the world cup could be assessed again and again with these friendlies. To win the world, we need more than a miracle!!

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