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AFCON 2015: 5 Worst Performing Super Eagles Against Congo And South Africa By Mansur Abubakar

September 11, 2014

The following players were deficient in the two games played so far and have to step up their game if Nigeria is to have any chance of retaining its crown in North Africa next year-Efe Ambrose, Mikel Obi, Ogenyi Onazi, Gbolahan Salami, Uche Nwofor.

It is no longer news that reigning African Champions Nigeria are struggling to qualify for next year’s AFCON tournament in Morocco after suffering an embarrassing defeat at home in the hands of Congo and narrowly escaping with a barren draw away to South Africa which leaves the Eagles and football minnows Sudan languishing at the bottom of the table.


The following players were deficient in the two games played so far and have to step up their game if Nigeria is to have any chance of retaining its crown in North Africa next year.

Efe Ambrose- even though the Celtic right back scored Nigeria’s first goal against the Red Devils in Calabar, he continued to struggle defensively, his main role, against the Congolese.

In fact ,Thierry Bifouma continued to terrorise Eagles defenses through the right hand side where the former Bayelsa United was supposed to keep locked down. Ambrose also struggled against a very quick footed Bafana Bafana side which saw Kenneth Omeruo coming out from his position to assist
Ambrose at the Cape Town Stadium.

Mikel Obi- Well, what can one say that haven’t been said before, Obi, remains Nigeria’s biggest player and much more is expected from the Chelsea man in terms of influencing play with incisive passes and momentous tackles.

But the most visible things we have seen from him in the two qualifying matches is his thoughtless ball throwing incident against Congo in Calabar (which resulted in a yellow card). Obi’s ugly altercation with South African players in Cape Town was also distasteful.

Ogenyi Onazi- Some might say in Onazi’s defense that he just recovered from a nasty injury he suffered at the hands of Frenchman Blaise Matuidi at the World Cup in Brazil.

Agreed but the Onazi we’ve seen in the last two matches is of great contrast to the one that massively impressed at the Mundial few months ago. Apart from causing the penalty that gave Congo a 2-1 lead in Calabar, he allowed the midfield to be overrun by both the Red Devils and the Bafana Bafana.

If the Eagles are to have any hopes of qualifying, the SS Lazio player must revert to the midfield maestro we all saw in Brazil and also work on his weight.

Gbolahan Salami- I agree that that the introduction of Emmanuel Emenike and Salami against Congo added impetus to Eagles game in Calabar. Some might even argue it’s unfair for the Warri Wolves Striker to be included on this list considering he scored the goal that reduced the margin in that infamous encounter in Cross River State but Salami’s woeful 80 minutes showing against South Africa has earned him a spot in this write up. Apart from failing to get past Bafana’s left back, Thabo Matlaba, he also wasted two corner kicks Nigeria could have capitalized on given our players aerial abilities.

Uche Nwofor- It is believed that Coach Stephen Keshi started Uche Nwofor ahead of Emmanuel Emenike against Congo to punish the Galatasaray striker for coming late to camp. Well he ended up punishing Nigerians because the former Enugu Rangers player had one decent effort in the game, when he latched onto an Nnamdi Oduamadi square pass and delivered a shot that missed the target by whiskers, apart from that it was a match to forget for him.