The Super Eagles of Nigeria ended their World cup qualifying campaign unbeaten going into the mundial in style
But for a controversial penalty call they would have run away with victory in faraway Constantine against the Algerians
Such propitious signs yet pundits are quick to point out that it’s not yet Uruhu for Gernot Rohrs team
The match against Algeria leaves us asking a couple of questions
1) Has John Ogu secured a ticket to Russia with his goal
The John Ogu fanbase went wild and took social media apart after the Hapoel Be’er Sheva midfielder put Nigeria ahead with a sublime goal in what was a rare start thanks to Nigeria already qualifying
It’s no secret Rohr hasn’t really looked Ogus way and the German seems to prefer the younger more mobile Mikel Agu and veteran Eddy Onazi.
Ogu hasn’t been sure of a place in the final squad to Russia
Has he been able to change that with his goal?
2) Are those calling for Enyeamas return vindicated
Let’s call it as it is. We have an issue with goalkeeping
Ezenwa has his moments but many times he comes across like a rookie
Against Algeria his handling of crosses was dodgy, his handling was weak and he looked shaky overall
Many are calling for youngsters Uzoho & Alampasu to take his but do they have the required experience for the World Cup
Seems all the signs are pointing back to the questioned return of Vincent Enyeama
3) What’s with Kelechi Iheanacho ?
From being one of the Super Eagles most outstanding players the Leicester man has reduced to a bit part player and has had some pundits even begin to question if he should make the plane to Russia
His struggles at club level seem to have transferred to the national team.
Lost the top striking position to Ighalo after a poor showing against South Africa and has done little to show intent to win it back
Played against Algeria in the role that made him the star he is back in his U17 days but still looked uncomfortable. Also seems to have issues with his first touch
With Rohr not known for playing 2 strikers centrally (another position he might possibly thrive) what becomes of Iheanacho
4) Is Shehu Abdulahhi the most improved Super Eagle?
If there’s any Super Eagle that has improved vastly under German coach Gernot Rohr its Anorthosis Famagusta midfielder Shehu Abdulahhi
Originally a defensive midfielder he deputized at right back for Nigeria at the Olympics and showed he could serve as a stop gap till we could find a proper right back
That was the plan with Rohr as well, filling the void with Shehu until we could scope a proper right back
But the 24 year old seems to have made the spot his own following a man of the match performance in the match against Zambia with another gutsy one against the Algerians
5) What is Rohrs best front 3?
Chelsea’s Victor Moses seems the only player assured of a spot in Nigeria’s attacking trio
All the other attackers in the team are vying for the remaining 2 spots
Rohr has shown preference of recent for Odion Ighalo and Moses Simon who were both absent against Algeria but still has options in Ahmed Musa, Kelechi iheanacho, Arsenals Alex Iwobi as well as newcomers Anthony Nwaekeme Henry Onyekuru and Larry Kayode
The Algeria match was an opportunity to access a few of these options and while it showed us Onyekuru has a lot of exciting promise and Nwaekeme might not be the required backup to Ighalo we still seem far from finally settling this poser
6) Can these Eagles thrive without Mikel?
Super Eagles captain Mikel Obi was rested for the dead rubber game against Algeria with the result inconsequential to our qualification
The last time we played without Mikel it was so evident and we suffered an embarrassing loss to South Africa at home
While the eagles rallied this time and put up a manageable performance it was evident again that the team lacked creativity in the final 3rd and missed the captains calming influence and control of the game
Rohr seems reluctant to tryout Arsenal midfielder Alex Iwobi as the playmaker and Etebo seems more of a box to box than an actual 10
The German needs to find an option in terms of creativity for the Chinese based playmaker
7) Can we stop worrying about our fullback positions now?
While Shehu was again exceptional on the right, Hull citys Ola Aina had a cracking game on the left performing admirably against Algerian star Riyad Mahrez and showing his attacking impetus
There have been reports of Amkar Perms Brian Idowu joining the team as well
The Super Eagles Achilles has for long been the fullback positions but with Shehu, Idowu and Aina who can operate on both flanks Can we comfortably say those days are over now ?