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Nigeria-iran-article-1024x576 A match which ended as a tie that could guarantee the Super Eagles passage to the second round ended up being one of the most keenly contested matches in the group stages. The match definitely left us with some lessons before we line up against Bosnia Herzegovina. Here are the top five lessons we can take: 1.The Super Eagles were inept in the final third It was evident that the Super Eagles saw much of the ball, but had no incisive moments. The ball was knocked around at a very slow pace which made the Iranians comfortable without the ball. Stephen Keshi must go back and draft out fast pass exchanges in the final third. 2. Keshi’s new boys have failed to blend with the team The introduction of new rookies like Ramon Azeez and Shola Ameobi has tilted the balance of the team. Azeez has struggled to marshal the attacking midfield irrespective of the fact that the match was his second cap for the Super Eagles. Keshi will need to work on him especially because he has the potential to create goal opportunities for the team. 3. Leaving out Ike Uche, Sunday Mba and Victor Nsofor was a mistake With the likes of Victor Moses, Ahmed Musa and Emmanuel Emenike failing to collectively score a goal against Iran, it is already looking like a failed tournament. It was obvious that Nigeria missed the directness of Mba, the set piece of Nsofor and the efficiency of a proven goal scorer like Ike Uche. The Super Eagles are expected to pick at least four points from the tie against Bosnia Herzegovina and Argentina, which now looks like an herculean task. We hope that the present rookies in the attack find their scoring feet soon rather than later. 4. The Super Eagles need a game plan for an ultra defensive unit The match showed that the Super Eagles were not prepared to play a team drilled to play defensive football. Keshi must wake up and design a template for different situations in a match. This way, the Super Eagles will have an Idea of what to do when they encounter a defensive outfit. 5. The Super Eagles lack a creative midfielder It is no hidden fact that the match against Iran lacked credible goal opportunities. The Super Eagles struggled in the final third of the field due to the lack of an effective creative midfielder. The Super Eagles’ style has always been a high pressing one, and when a creative midfielder is nowhere to be found we have to change our pattern either to feeding the big strikers with long balls, or playing a quick counter-attacking style of football. This can prove effective given fast paced attackers like Victor Moses, Ahmed Musa and Emmanuel Emenike.

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This article was first published on 18th June 2014


Martins Okafor is a Sports Writer for Connect Nigeria. He has been a sport buff for years, following stories and development in leagues and international competitions. His interest led him to writing stories – reporting on sporting events. He has superior interest in soccer, but knows much about other sports. He plans to have a blog and to advance in sport journalism. You can email him at: obimartins85 [at]

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