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Nigeria Needs Solid Defence, Says Uche Okechukwu




Former Nigerian skipper, Uche Okechukwu, is not too happy with the defence line of the Super Eagles as the team braces up for qualification for Russia 2018 World Cup and the commencement of journey to Cameroon 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

The towering central defender who was called “Gentle Giant” in his playing days has urged Coach, Gernot Rohr to keep close watch on his defence line.

The 1996 Atlanta Olympic Gold medallist in a Face book chat with Sports Village Square expressed concerns about recent developments where the team conceded some goals that are easily defensive errors.

Okechukwu who was capped 47 times for Nigeria and last donned the Super Eagles shirt in the June 27, 1998 loss to Denmark said he was not happy any time the national team let in silly goals.


“No one will be happy seeing a team like Nigeria conceding goals in almost all their recent encounters.

“I can remember, during our days at the 1990 Africa Cup of Nations in Algeria, we lost focus in the opening game which made us concede five goals to the hosts.

“Ever since then, we tightened up the defence and did not concede any other goal till we got to the final to face Algeria again.

“Even then, Algeria had to sweat to beat us 1-0 in their only title till date. The reason why we keep conceding goals is that we don’t have a stable defence line up in recent years.

“I could remember the last time we played 2-2 draw with South Africa in Uyo and crashed out of 2015 Africa Cup of Nations was due to defensive errors.


The goal we conceded to Egypt in Kaduna and the one in Alexandria last year were basically caused by lapses in our defence line.

“We can’t keep playing this way and expect positive result. I am not a coach but am only advising Rohr to work more on it for the good of our team.”


Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and the country’s most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022.

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