Despite the light nature of the Liberia Vs Nigeria game, we still learnt a few lessons from it.
There isn’t much to this game as the friendly was to honour Liberian president George Weah and also to formally retire his No. 14 jersey.
Despite the light nature of the game, we still learnt a few lessons from it.
Since his emergence, Super Eagles boss Gernot Rohr has not given much playing time to Henry Onyekuru. It took Rohr quite sometime before he invited the forward for the Super Eagles even after his stunning form for Eupen in Belgium during the 2016/2017 season.
Even when he was eventually called-up, Onyekuru has still not gotten enough game time with the Super Eagles. With the absence of the regulars like Victor Moses and Moses Simon, Onyekuru still had to wait to late in the second half before he was called on in Nigeria’s 3-0 win over Seychelles.
It seems Rohr does not trust the 21-year-old yet but his display against Liberia shows he has to be given more responsibilities in the Super Eagles. The Galatasaray forward scored Nigeria’s first goal of the game and impressed. With that performance and on current form, Onyekuru is the best Nigerian forward at the moment and has to be given more game time.
Super Eagles boss Rohr has always been very vocal about how low he rates home-based Nigerian players, He called up four players from the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) for the game against Liberia and despite the triviality of the game, he didn’t start any of them.
It wasn’t until the second half with Nigeria leading 2-0 that he started introducing the NPFL players.
Long-suffering midfielder John Ogu wore the captain armband and led out the fringe Super Eagles players for the game. He partnered Semi Ajayi in central defence and was impressive all through. Ogu has been used sparingly for the Super Eagles in recent years and hardly puts a wrong foot in. A
The sight of 51-year-old Liberian President Weah strutting the pitch during the game enraged Twitter Nigeria and rightly so. This was just not a friendly game organised to get games for the Super Eagles, rather it was fanfare that to honour Weah who was also formally retiring his No 14 jersey.
There isn’t a problem with that but it is shameful for the Nigeria Football Federation to engaged the Super Eagles, their biggest team and Nigeria’s senior national team for such Inanities.
After Super Eagles 0-2 loss in their opening game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Rohr faced the music for his decision to deploy John Mikel Obi as his No. 10.
Oghenekaro Etebo was pushed forward to occupy the role while Mikel was withdrawn to a box to box midfield role for the remaining two games of the World Cup.
For Super Eagles first game after the World, Kelechi Iheanacho struggled in that role in the 3-0 win away at Seychelles. Against Liberia, Kelechi Nwakali couldn’t impress even against minnows.