How Jose Peseiro can change things for Super Eagles
Despite Nigeria’s 1-0 victory over Guinea-Bissau on Monday, head coach Jose Peseiro still has a lot of work to do in order to prepare the team for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations.
The victory followed last week’s defeat in Abuja, leaving the West African giants with room for improvement.
Although it would take a specific set of permutations for them to miss out, the Super Eagles are not yet qualified for the Nations Cup. Here are some areas where Jose Peseiro needs to improve the team during upcoming international breaks:
There is the general believe that the 4-4-2 formation is not working.
Peseiro largely stuck to a 4-4-2 formation during the current international window and in 2022. However, this classic formation does not exploit the talents available to him. He has appeared reluctant to experiment with other strategies and slow to change a strategy in-game when his formation is not proving effective.
Changing the formation should help the midfield take control of contests, which is a crucial route to winning games against both Africa’s top sides and the would-be lesser lights. Being part of a midfield two leaves Alex Iwobi with too much defensive responsibility, and he was not able to influence contests as he can in the Premier League.
Unless Wilfred Ndidi can return to top form and fitness, Nigeria will struggle to get the better of their opponents in the heart of the park, particularly with only two men in there.
There needs to be a good look at why the goal keeping position is not working.
While Francis Uzoho kept a clean sheet against Guinea-Bissau, his concentration and even handling were not flawless across either fixture, leaving many unconvinced that he is the answer between the sticks. The two local keepers called up by Peseiro for the double-header are unlikely to emerge as credible threats to the No. 1 jersey.
With Uzoho suspended for the next international break, Nigeria needs to find a solution, and Maduka Okoye’s ongoing inactivity at Watford has become a serious problem.
The Samuel Chukwueze story needs to be reviewed at the moment by Jose Peseiro, so a great talent doesn’t end up a dud in the Super Eagles squad.
It was telling that Samuel Chukwueze was retained rather than Ademola Lookman, who has proved he’s a much greater goal threat than Chukwueze in Serie A this season. It’s time for Peseiro to drop Chukwueze, let the wideman know he’s not infallible, and give some of Nigeria’s other widemen a chance to impress.
Why is Victor Osimhen not doing a Napoli for the Super Eagles?
With Chukwueze and Lookman both cutting inside, Osimhen was starved of the service that could have got the best out of him in the first game at least. Nigeria’s best bet of winning the Nations Cup is to devise a strategy similar to Napoli’s approach to get the best out of their superstar center-forward.
At the moment, Peseiro is ignoring this and employing his widemen as inside forward is not the way to feed Big Vic. A 3-5-2 formation, with adventurous wing-backs, could simultaneously solve the Eagles’ deficiencies out wide and through the middle.