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Gernot Rohr has Super Eagles' back on world stage but debate on style of play rages on

 

While I am in agreement that Nigeria desperately needed to get back on the world stage whatever it took, I will contend that there is an important difference between two phases: qualification to the World Cup playoffs and reaching the competition proper. 

First, let me say a few words about Rohr's chosen style of play in recent times.

We have become a very direct team under him. There is no patience, no build-up. It is all about attempting again and again a direct pass, especially in the opposition's half of the pitch and near the touchlines. The pass forwards is always encouraged, even if it's usually too ambitious, with a low probability of completion.

If it works one time out of ten, we get a goal in quick fashion. If it doesn't, we don't lose our well-disciplined shape or expose ourselves. It makes for a very unattractive, frustrating watch because you see something repeatedly fail but being attempted again and again.

We have picked nine points from four games and top Group C. The Super Eagles should hopefully finish top of the log.

My argument is the following. We are entering a phase in which we will face much tougher opponents. There’s no hiding from the fact that we have shortcomings in a number of key areas such as a left winger and a somewhat creative player to partner Wilfred Ndidi in deep midfield.

The question then becomes, if we qualify for the playoffs, what can we feel good about in the coming period? Will the continent see through our "anti-football" performances at the playoffs and remember that we drew, maybe barely won a game or two, and lost one or two, but not by much?

How many will see our throw-ins and think they are part of a brilliant game plan? What about us fans? Wouldn't we feel the same way? What about the players? Would they feel better playing for tight results even at a global showcase or would they rather play without pressure as the underdogs and enjoy their football.

Rohr has changed his system in the past, beginning his tenure with a 4-3-3 formation instead of the current 4-4-2, and has even tried a more possession-based approach in some (albeit short) parts of past games.

Content created and supplied by: AdemetanAbayomi (via Opera News )

Gernot Rohr Nigeria Super Eagles' World Cup

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