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5 takeaways from Super Eagles friendlies in Belgium.

Sunday Oliseh will be very pleased with the 3-0 result over Cameroon on Sunday as he finished the two-match tour of Belgium on a high even though his team lost 2-0 to Congo last Thursday.
Oliseh, into his fourth match as coach of the national team, would have taken the positives and the negatives – whilst also having grown up a notch on the issue of management after the spat with Vincent Enyeama. Here are the five things we noticed:

Onazi has to cut out unforced errors
On at least four occasions on Sunday, Ogenyi Onazi gave away the ball, when a simple pass would have sufficed. For a player that plays in the highly technical climes of Serie A, it is unbecoming. For all his running, energy and flair, Onazi will never become a better player if he does not allow himself to do the simple things. He does not need to force any action from his deep role but to keep the ball moving from side to side – that way his effectiveness will be better realised and appreciated.

Igbonu has added running to a static midfield
The Eagles midfield used to be a static bunch with none of the three, chosen on most occasions ready to get ahead of the attackers. When last did a midfielder score for the Eagles? I bet no one can proffer a quick answer to that question. So it was very welcoming to see Sylvester Igbonu, driving forward on more than one occasion against Cameroon. His drive led to the set piece that gave Ambrose the chance to head home the first goal. He also created room for Mikel to bring the ball forward as he always made sure to take away the midfield lynchpin for the Cameroonians. His running showed a part of what has been missing from the Eagles for some time.

Emenike needs to be rested
Emmanuel Emenike’s body language makes Nigerian football fans sweat. Most of the time, it looks like he has been begged to enter the pitch and having not scored for the Eagles since November 2013, it will be gracious of Oliseh to give him a rest – at least from the next set of qualifiers. This is not saying that he should retire, because a good player does not go bad all of a sudden. Odion Ighalo just seems to be a better poacher at the moment.

Balogun is a good alternative at centre back
Against Congo, he seemed tentative and nervous – but against Cameroon, he was solid in his tackling, reading of the game and composure. His quality surely is a good find for the Eagles as the duo of Kenneth Omeruo and Godfrey Oboabona will be feeling the heat. He has the height and just like Efe Ambrose, he plays on the right flank with his club which means he has a forward outlook on the ball.

Simon must be encouraged to grow
Moses Simon showed the Nigerian populace why he is now worth 20 million Euros as stated by his Belgian club, KAA Gent. For a player that just transferred to Belgium this January, it has been a roller-coaster ride. Now with six goals in 10 senior appearances, he is showing all the qualities that could make him a mainstay of the Eagles for years to come. But he must not be allowed to regress, there are obviously areas of his game that can be improved, especially his decision making when he gets his markers one-on-one. With the other Moses, Victor, yet to be integrated into this team, the Eagles are looking quite formidable again, going forward, if they find the right target man.

One of the reasons Oliseh gave for naming Ahmed Musa as the captain of the team was because of a future outlook. Therefore, on that premise, he must ensure that he begins to find replacements for some players, even though they played well in Belgium – that is if he truly is looking to the future!

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