Super Eagles beat Libya in both legs of the AFCON qualifiers scoring a total of 7 goals and conceding 2 with Odion Ighalo scoring 5 goals and 2 Assists in the encounter. The team was without both captains Mikel Obi and Onazi, and Shehu Abdullahi as they looked much sharper and stronger up until the second half of the second leg against Libya when they looked lost and over powered.
Francis Uzoho still looks unsure of himself but he made crucial saves that ensured the 3-2 win in the 2nd leg of the Libya tie. He is improving on his long clearance but he needs much work. The 19year old goalkeeper is the future of the Super Eagles and patience from the fans is needed.
The famous OYINBO WALL (Ekong-Balogun) have never looked so unsure of their self. Nigeria has tried to play the possession game, playing out from the back. Balogun takes more risk, attempting dangerous passes from the defense directly to the forward men and moving the ball forward from the back trying to take on players which leaves gaps in the defense. He may look shaky now but he will improve and will be good for Nigeria going into the next game.
The fullbacks Aina and Collins are good on the ball and strong defensively better than Echiejile and Shehu. They have gotten their chance and they took it with open hands, Collins still needs more game time to blend with the team but Ola Aina who has been with the squad for a while now looks like he has played there for years, his linkup with the forward and midfield is amazing.
The midfield trio of Iwobi-Ndidi-Etebo is a real upgrade from Mikel-Ndidi-Onazi, but the experience from Mikel and Onazi in some games cannot be underestimated. The team was crying out for a Mikel or Onazi in the second leg after Nigeria went 2-0 up and Libya completely dominated the play.
For the first time in ages Nigerian midfield is keeping possession, Iwobi as our main creative outlet with Etebo keeping possession and always the ball forward purposefully. We now have a functioning midfield, which is young and if they are allowed to play together they will be a great force going into the AFCON and the next world cup if they keep their form in their respective club sides.
Iwobi has been one of the best players for Nigeria since the World Cup, and now with the retirement of Victor Moses, Iwobi has stepped up, his work rate has improved, he was all over the pitch in both legs and had the most chances created than any other Nigerian player, he is always looking for the pass. It was clear that he wanted a goal and he will soon add goals to his game for the national team.
The man of the moment Odion Ighalo scoring 5 goals in two games, unlike the Ighalo of previous games, he seems to have found his goal scoring boots and we will need him for the trip to South Africa to secure our qualification.
Ahmed Musa has been the same, his electrifying pace and willingness to succeed for the Eagles is the main reason he is thriving, he captained Nigeria in both fixtures, his unwavering commitment to the team is what makes him adored by the fans.
The new forward Kalu, he has a lot of potential, but he is yet to blend with the team and that cost us. In the first leg, he tried to go in alone, dribbles and he wanted to impress so much in the first game, He was rewarded with a goal but in the second game, he was almost anonymous in the game but had glimpses which shows that he will improve and I will hope to see more for him in the future.
I hope to see Mikel, Onazi, Shehu , Simon return to the bench for the Eagles, their experience will be needed.
We do not need to be carried away because the quality of the opposition we faced were not good enough (no disrespect to the Libya players), but the team looked good and will improve more once the more experienced players join the team as they seek qualification for the AFCON.
Rohr looks like a man with a plan and needs the support from the fans going forward. The blend of youth and experience in the team is great and we have a squad which will only improve as the years go by.