20.11.2023, 03:38

Super Eagles Stumble in World Cup Qualifier: Challenges and Setbacks in Draw with Zimbabwe

Super Eagles Stumble in World Cup Qualifier: Challenges and Setbacks in Draw with Zimbabwe

Nigeria's Super Eagles recently faced a setback in their World Cup qualifying campaign with a draw against Zimbabwe in Rwanda. This match at the Huye stadium ended in a 1-1 tie, marking the team's second disappointing result within four days. The game highlighted several critical issues for the Super Eagles.

Firstly, the absence of Napoli forward Victor Osimhen was deeply felt. Osimhen had been a key player during the qualification phase, scoring a significant portion of Nigeria’s goals. Without him, the team struggled to find the back of the net, scoring only twice in two games and missing numerous scoring opportunities. This raised concerns about Nigeria's attacking prowess and dependence on Osimhen, especially with the upcoming 2023 Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

Defensively, the experiment to convert Calvin Bassey from a left-back to a centre-back has not yielded positive results. Despite efforts at both Fulham and the national team, Bassey’s performance suggests he is more effective in his natural position. His positioning and vulnerability to opposing strikers have contributed to the team's defensive woes, as seen in the early goals conceded in the games with Bassey and Semi Ajayi in defence.

Coach Jose Peseiro’s decisions have also come under scrutiny. His choices regarding team selection have been questioned, especially leaving out in-form players like Paul Onuachu and Alhassan Yusuf and including struggling players such as Joe Aribo and Umar Sadiq. Furthermore, Peseiro’s tactical choices have been contentious, like benching Kelechi Iheanacho after a strong performance and persisting with Francis Uzoho as goalkeeper.

The Super Eagles now face a challenging path to qualify for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Their performance in the qualifying matches has been underwhelming, marked by a lack of passion, creativity, and tactical strength. With just two points from two games and the possibility of falling further behind South Africa, Nigeria’s hopes for World Cup qualification are hanging by a thread. The team needs a significant turnaround in performance and strategy to stay competitive in Group C and secure a spot in the upcoming World Cup.

Chimamanda Oluwashina
Betting Tips Analyst


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