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AFCON 2023: NIGERIANS RENEWED FRESH CONFIDENCE IN NFF AND SUPER EAGLES AFTER IVORY COAST WIN

January, 20 2024.

The Victory of the Super Eagles against host Ivory Coast has given Nigerians fresh confidence that the current crops of Super Eagles players can actually "Do it again".

Nigeria came into the AFCON tournament with a mantra of Let's do it again but deep down the heart of many that was just a phrase of cruise and not a tangible reality.


But the mantra is now begining to make sense and looking achievable after the win and performance against an opponent like Ivory Coast.


Before the Ivory Coast game the Eagles played a disappointing one all draw with Equitorial Guinea to further add to the already existing doubts some have had concerning the team.


The Eagles have not been flying under Jose Peseiro and their recent games prior to the AFCON further left many guessing if the coach is really the right man for the job.


Their recent two rounds of World cup qualifiers against lowly rated countries did not live up to expectations with two draws so the skepticism was there coming to the AFCON .


But like what has become a traditional pattern for the Super Eagles in recent years, when you least expect them to show up , they show up big time .


This was exactly what happened against the Elephant of Ivory Coast in front of their home fans.

Coach Peseiro finally got his tactics spot on and decided to play to the strength of the players.


He adopted a very rigid but effective tactics by deploring a 3-4-3 formation that reduced the Ivorians to just playing from side to side without creating any clear cut chances for ninety minutes.

Peseiro choked the midfield and played with three centre-backs making penetrations from the middle a tough job for the Ivorians.


And in the middle of the park, the likes of Frank Onyeka, Alex Iwobi , Ademola Lukman worked their soaks out.


I have personally being calling for this three at the back formation for sometimes now because I see it as the best option for our team giving their strength and weaknesses.


The next task for the team is to build on this momentum and ride on it as long as they can , which many now believe could take them all the way to the final.


The team's last group game is against Guinea Bissau and it will be very interesting to see how the Eagles will fair after the Ivory coast game in terms of tactics, performance and mentality.


I personally believe the coach should not tamper with this formation but find additional solutions to how it's going to be better in terms of personnel.

One player that will further make this formation stronger is the return of Alhassan Yusuf to the team.

The box to box Nigeria version of Ngolo Kante will add more steel and grit to the Midfield.


He has been one of the revelations of the tournament with his sixty minutes performance in the first game against Equitorial Guinea before he got injured.


Making his debut in that game, he shone like a million stars with his work rate, his reading of the game and his calmness with his passess.

The Eagles team and the tournament as a whole desperately yearn for his return and I see Nigeria's 4th AFCON title coming home.


Written By Michael Obasi

Sports Affairs Analyst/ Presenter Hotsports on Hot FM Abuja

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