Completesports.com’s ADEBOYE AMOSU who was there live at the Cairo International Stadium on Wednesday July 10, highlights six key remarkable things learnt from the Super Eagles’ 2-1 win against the Bafana Bafana of South Africa in an AFCON 2019 quarterfinal match…
Rohr Gets One Over Baxter For The First Time
Before the AFCON 2019 quarterfinal game, Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr had never enjoyed a win against his South African counterpart, Stuart Baxter, but he got his first victory after 90 minutes at the Cairo International Stadium .
The Bafana Bafana defeated Nigeria 2-0 in the first meeting between both teams in Rohr’s time as Super Eagles coach. The second game ended in a 1-1 draw.
Not only did Nigeria defeat South Africa in the Cairo game, Rohr also outfoxed Baxter on the touchline. The Super Eagles, for the better part of the game, nullified the threats of the South Africans who never really troubled the Nigerian defence.
Chukwueze Proves Again To Be Great Prospect For Eagles’ Future
There has been clamour from fans and journalists for the Villarreal winger to be included in the starting lineup after he was dropped to the bench following Nigeria’s opening game against the Swallows of Burundi, but Gernot Rohr earlier refused to yield to those calls. Rohr consistently maintained that he preferred Moses Simon to Chukwueze because of his defensive ability.
The German however budged and unleashed Chukwueze on the South Africans on Wednesday July 10, and the Villarreal winger rewarded him with a goal and man of the match performance.
Super Eagles Nearly Paid For Missed chances
On the basis of the foothold, Eagles had the game in the first half. The Super Eagles should have put the game to bed before the break. Their lack of potency upfront nearly cost them the game, but for William Troost-Ekong 89th minute winner which came at a time when the South Africans were looking dangerous in the game.
Etebo Turns Into Terrific Defensive Midfielder
For those who know Oghenekaro Etebo very well during his days with local club Warri Wolves, they must have been surprise to see the Stoke City man thrive in a defensive midfield role. Etebo in all his time at Warri Wolves played in attacking position (second striker or attacking midfielder).
His transition into a defensive midfield position, where he now plays for both club and country has been quite remarkable.
Etebo and Leicester City midfielder Wilfred Ndidi helped to nullify the threat of the South Africans in the midfield and provided a screen in front of the defence.
He came close to getting a goal in the second half when his freekick veered off the wall of defence and enabling Ronwen Williams to fingertip it unto the cross bar. A goal from this brilliant effort could have been the icing on the cake for him.
Awaziem Fast Making Right-Back Position His Own
Though a natural centre-back, injury to Shehu Abdullahi forced Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr to play Chidozie Awaziem at the right-back position in Nigeria’s first game against Burundi.
Game by game, he has continued to grow in confidence, and his performance against South Africa in Cairo was his best in the competition so far.
Not only did Awaziem defend well, he also was always willing to support the attack. On the basis of what he has offered so far in this competition, it is difficult to see Abdullahi displacing him any time soon.
Musa Needs To Improve On His Delivery
The Al Nassr of Saudi Arabia winger, Ahmed Musa, was a constant threat to the South Africans before his substitution in the game. Musa troubled Thamsanga Mkhize on the right for most of the game, but the quality of his delivery was nothing to write home about. He will need to work on that in subsequent games especially at this crucial stage of the competition.
Source: Complete Sports