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Nigeria 0-2 South Africa: The Day After



Courtesy: Nigeria Football Support Platform

Gernot Rohr will certainly be under heavy fire at the moment. He played with a defensive midfield and hoped that the attacking combination of Kelechi Iheanacho, Alex Iwobi and Oghenekaro Etebo will make up for what the midfield lacked.
But it didn’t work. The absence of Mikel Obi in midfield – where he brings a lot of stability and balance, as well as Victor Moses in attack, whose ability to hold onto the ball is a major plus, were heavily felt.
The team that played against South Africa lacked the needed experience to balance the young but inexperienced talents. And let’s face it; South Africa could have won the game by four or five goals, if they had been less respectful of Nigeria. The Eagles are fortunate that it was just 2-0!
Rohr will just have to manage the flak and keep going. Losing is part of football and he has two decisive games in August. He must win one of those two, to ensure Nigeria remains in the race for Russia. What has happened on Saturday has happened.
As for goalkeeping, the issue of Vincent Enyeama returning to the team will have to be looked at again, because the performance of Daniel Akpeyi, in the absence of Carl Ikeme, tells us he lacks what a top goalkeeper should have – presence and the ability to be truly the last man of the defence.

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 Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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