The last time the two teams met, both teams played out a highly entertaining 2-2 draw in a must win 2015 AFCON Qualifier at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, a game which ensured the Super Eagles missing out of the 2015 AFCON in Equatorial Guinea with the South Africans progressing alongside Congo from the group.
Bafana Bafana striker, Tokelo Rantie scored a brace on that night before Sone Aluko got his own double to deny the visitors their first competitive win against the host. Nigeria likewise misses out on the 2017 AFCON in Gabon with Chad pulling out of the qualifiers which meant only one team could qualify out of the group. Egypt picked up the sole ticket of the group having drawn with the Super Eagles in Kaduna and then a 1-0 home win in Egypt which ensures the Super Eagles missing out on two consecutive Afcon finals.
There were lots of experienced players in the team, many veterans including 2013 AFCON top scorer Emenike, Ighalo, Ideye, Enyeama, but the Super Eagles had lost their fear factor, with countries like Sudan and Congo inspired by Biofuma indeed defeated Nigeria, with the latter achieving the feat in Kaduna.
In 2016, Tanzania fancied their chances against the Super Eagles and they got a 0-0 draw at home (a game which they could have won Carl ikeme’s outstanding performance in goal). It was Sunday Oliseh’s first game in charge during his short stint as the coach of the national team.
When Gernot Rohr was employed, the Super Eagles were already out of the race to qualify and the game against Tanzania in Uyo was a mere formality which the team still fought hard to win thanks to Iheanacho long-range stunner in a 1-0 win. Since the lost to Egypt, the team has not tasted defeat and confidence is gradually returning to the team and opponents are waking up to the fact that the current Super Eagles team are now a force to reckon with.
South Africans also missed out Gabon 2017 and therefore will be looking to achieve a shocking result in Uyo in order to boost their chances of qualification. They haven’t won against Nigeria since 2004 but they can smell blood after two consecutive draws in their last two meetings. Most of their players play for Caf Champions League winners, Mamelodi Sundowns, PSL Champions Bidwest Wits, local powerhouses Orlando Pirates, Kaziers Chief and they could prove a hard nut to crack especially with their recent success on the African scene.
Two-goal hero in the last meeting, Tokelo Rantie is still in the team, many cannot forget easily how he turned Omeruo in and out last time the two met, Ithumele Khune is still formidable in goal, Dean Furman is also a decent maestro in the midfield and with the absence of Obi Mikel, he could prove to be a potential trouble for Onazi and Ndidi, which shows that they are not short of firepower.
The Bafana Bafana are unbeaten in their last five games as well, winning two drawing three and with a draw against the Eagles on Saturday, they would fancy taking 12 points off the other teams in the group which are Seychelles and Libya, both are minnows on paper but shouldn’t be taken with kids gloves. Both teams clash on Friday and either of the two sides would want a win with hopes of a draw between Nigeria and South Africa.
Nigeria lead its 2018 World Cup qualifying group with 4 points above second-placed Cameroon, arguably the group of death, the Eagles have won 2 out of 2 to show quality and readiness, defeating Zambia in Ndola and Algeria at the Nest of champions despite the young and new faces with little experience on the international scene brought into the team, they face Cameroon in a double header later in August and September.
The importance of this tie cannot be underestimated, not only is it a must win for both sides in order to set a tone for qualifying for 2019 AFCON, it is also a crucial test for the home team before the clash against Cameroon, to give a clue into what to expect from the Indomitable Lions when they come visiting.
Gernot Rohr hasn’t lost since taking charge of the Super Eagles team, Morales are high amongst the players with a seemingly renewed self-confidence instilled in the current young and talented crop of players in the squad, therefore should the team fail to get at least a point from the game tomorrow, it may have damaging effects on the team spirit.
Playing the African champions is never an easy task but losing your preceding game after a period of “invisibility” would make it more of a herculean task. Getting six or at least four points from the double-header against Cameroon would put the Nigerians in pole position to qualify for the group anything less than that would return the group to balance based on other results between Algeria and Zambia.
Therefore, from a particular perspective, the result from this match could have effects on the subsequent world cup qualifier matches and indeed AFCON 2019 qualifiers, so the Super Eagles must take it with all seriousness and focus on winning.
Although many of the experienced players from the game in November 2014 are not in the team this time around, the likes of Sone Aluko, Vincent Enyeama, Emmanuel Emenike and a host of others but the precocious talents like Iheanacho who has 7 goals in his just about 10 appearances for the National team, Iwobi and experienced duo of Ogenyi Onazi, Ahmed Musa, and Omeruo who were both presents in the last match between the two sides can get the job done on Saturday evening.
FIFA Congress To Decide Future Host Of FIFA Women’s World Cup™
Council assigns FIFA Women’s World Cup™ hosting decision to the football governing body’s Congress; also approves financial statements for 2020 and budget for 2022.
Meeting by video conference, the Council conferred to the Congress the decision to award Women’s World Cup™ hosting rights.
Until now, the decision has been taken by the FIFA Council, most recently in June 2020 when the hosting rights for the 2023 edition were awarded to Australia and New Zealand.
As the football governing body seeks to raise the profile of the women’s game, this represents a significant step to bring the Women’s World Cup in line with the flagship men’s competition.
The proposal will be put forward for a final decision by the 71st FIFA Congress, which will meet virtually (for the second time) on 21 May.
International match calendar and release of players.
The FIFA Council received a report on the international football situation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bureau of the Council had extended to April 2021 the temporary amendments to the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players regarding the release of players for international duty, and FIFA, the confederations, and its member associations remain in dialogue with national authorities about exemptions from quarantine rules for national team players.
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The FIFA Council recognized that the highest priority in football is the health of the players, and therefore the discussion around the release of players for international duty must maintain this perspective, especially as the public health situation develops around the world.
2020 financials and 2022 budget
The Council also approved the organization’s Annual Report, which contains the financial statements for 2020 and the budget for 2022.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 focuses on the role played by world football’s governing body in the fight against COVID-19, primarily through the unprecedented COVID-19 Relief Plan, which has made available USD 1.5 billion to support FIFA’s 211 member associations and the confederations through times of financial uncertainty.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 is available on the official site.
FIFA Arab Cup 2021™
The Council approved the competition regulations for the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, confirming the match schedule and draw procedure for the competition taking place in Qatar from 1 to 18 December this year.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Fédération Internationale de Football Association.
Paul Onuachu: A Victim Of Tactical Deficiency
Ever wondered why Genk forward Paul Onuachu has always been a prolific figure for his club and find it hard to replicate that form with the Super Eagles when invited?
The Nigeria international has been in awesome form for the Blue-White, scoring 26 goals in the Jupiler League this season for Genk, while his scoring prowess at his club has been a contrast to his form with the national team under Gernot Rohr scoring just once in 9 games despite being a top performer at club level.
Ahead of the AFCON qualifier doubleheader against Lesotho and the Benin Republic, Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr named his 23 man list with the inform former Midtjylland forward listed as one of the standby players.
Onuachu’s struggles with the Super Eagles in previous games he featured is quite baffling, considering the excitement that greeted his first appearance with the national team plus the impressive form he’s currently in.
The job of every manager is to find a suitable position or fashion out tactics that would be suitable for their players in other to blend with the team approaches to every match. In Onuachu’s case, he hasn’t been fortunate enough to blend in with Rohr’s tactics. While at club level, Midtjylland plays to his strength.
However, due to Napoli’s players been restricted from traveling, the Genk forward made it through the backdoor to replace Gernot Rohr’s number one forward Victor Osimhen who hasn’t really hit the ground running with the ‘Partenopei‘, but when with the Eagles, he never fails to deliver.
It’s no doubt that the lanky striker has failed to deliver in his previous games, disappointing the ever-demanding Nigerian football enthusiasts with unforgiving backlashes from the fans. However, his prolific prowess with his club suggests otherwise and consistently makes a case for him to be integrated into the team with a different tactical approach that suits his style.
The era of a target man may have been long gone in football due to the advent of new tactics that have brought about a series of changes in the game. With managers preferring to go with a fast, skillful, or makeshift winger- kind of striker, instead of a target man.
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Looking at how Paul Onuachu plays with Genk upfront shows he’s one of the best target men in football, despite been perceived by many as a slow and old-fashioned kind of forward. However, John van den Bromm has been able to carve out a tactic that suits him which has been evident with his prolific form irrespective of his style of play.
Onuachu’s Super Eagle future might be on the knife-edge with Gernot Rohr not finding the right tactics that suit the Genk forward, especially with him not been consider as the go-to man despite his blistering runs of form in Belgium.
In recent times Rohr’s philosophy of vibrant attacking football with an emphasis on passing in the final third which requires the expertise of brilliant players to implement such tactics hasn’t really favored him.
Having a player in the mold of Onuachu gives Rohr another tactical option and an alternative style of play should the initial approach fails to work as expected, but the German tactician hasn’t really taken advantage of what the man could offer with a different opponent.
Onuachu’s presence in the Super Eagles team should be an added advantage in terms of variety when the normal approach of the manager fails. With an in-form striker on the bench, it could prove valuable, but in the former Midtjylland’s case, Gernot Rohr doesn’t seem to see him as a player that has a future with the national team.
Players in the mold of the Nigerian are quite physically imposing as the point man, though they may not offer the team excellent off-the-ball movement in some cases. However, they often find a way to provide an opportunity which the team could utilize when attacking or defending.
Onuachu’s inability to show a good turn of pace and smart footwork may have been one of the deficiencies that are affecting his chances of blending perfectly into the team.
However, the job of a manager is to help players blend in perfectly, and that’s exactly what Gernot Rohr should be doing. Not only for Onuachu but for every other player who are always finding it hard to replicate club form with the National Team.