The Super Eagles of Nigeria are on a roll. They have won their first two matches in the World Cup Qualifiers, and they are looking quite comfortable on top of the group. The nearest opponents, Cameroon, are four points off, and they do not even look like a genuine threat at the moment. Things are definitely looking bright for the former giants of Africa. Therefore, now seems like a good time to start sounding the warnings.
Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not a doom merchant. I’m just saying that the Eagles have a tendency to let their foot off the gas when they are on such a good run of form. This is more explicitly seen during their matches. When Nigeria scores a goal, they tend to relax, and eventually the opponents find a way to score an equalizer. Well, so far this has not been the case. However, against Algeria the signs were there. The players had been given instructions to mark Islam Slimani and Riyad Mahrez out of the game. They did that beautifully until Victor Moses scored. Then Mahrez began those trademark mazy runs. Not long after we scored the second goal, Nabil Bentaleb fired a rocket into our goal.
This kind of thing has to stop. The squad should fight for the win all the time, not just protect a lead. I know that the Super Eagles can do just that whenever they want to. However, for the Eagles to get back to those lofty heights they used to call their own, they must treat every single game as a final. That’s the mentality of champions.
Coach Gernot Rohr is taking a pragmatic approach to the qualifying campaign. He has taken to preparing for every match individually, and studying each opponent extensively. Then he prepares a game strategy to suit the opposition. So far, this has been awesome. This is a strategy used by the best coaches in the world, and it is yielding dividends. It would be bad if one player loses focus in a crucial moment and ruins everything. To put it simply, that would suck.