5 things we learnt from Super Eagles win over Zambia

Super Eagles

Nigeria’s Super Eagles began their quest to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia with an outstanding 2-1 victory over Zambia on Sunday.

The three-time African champions edged the Chipolopolo thanks to two beautiful goals from Premier League duo, Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho.

The result puts the Eagles in the driving seat in Group B which also has heavyweights, Algeria and Cameroon.

Here are five observations from that cracking encounter in Ndola.

  1. It’s a new dawn for Nigerian football

It’s been a torrid year for Nigerian football. Bar the Olympic Eagles, all other national teams failed to excel. However, with the new crop of youngsters in the Eagles, there’s so much to hope for in the future. Against Zambia, Gernot Rohr started with four players aged 20 which included goalscorers Iheanacho and Iwobi. The pair will certainly lead the new generation which also has the likes of Moses Simon, Isaac Success and Wilfred Ndidi.

  1. Omeruo’s progress has stalled

When Nigeria won their third Africa Cup of Nations in 2013, a new star was born in 19-year-old Kenneth Omeruo. However three years after, the energetic defender has stunted in his development – evidently in the clash against the Chipolopolo. The absence of injured Leon Balogun gave room for the former Middlesbrough man who failed to impress in his first start under Rohr.

  1. Ideye could be Nigeria’s joker

The absence of bereaved Odion Ighalo gave way for Brown Ideye who slotted at centre forward against Zambia. Despite scoring five goals in nine games for Olympiacos, the forward hasn’t been able to find his way into the good books of Nigerians. However, Ideye once again proved his critics wrong with his superb display – linking up play which led to Iheanacho’s goal.

  1. Rohr still learning

He might have had a 100 percent record in his first two games but Rohr is nothing close to the finished product. The Franco-German who clearly is still experimenting, started defensive midfielder, Ndidi at rightback which almost backfired. His substitutions against the Chipolopolo were also calamitous which proved the tactician is still getting to know his new team.

  1. Ikeme finally erases the agony of Enyeama

Carl Ikeme has proven over and over again how important he is to the current crop since making his debut against Tanzania in 2015. This incidentally was the same time ex-skipper, Vincent Enyeama, was calling it quit on his international career. The Wolverhampton man has since taken up the mantle with ease and proved his class with beautiful saves against Zambia.