Nigeria got the win against Liberia but the performance again shows the team has regressed under Rohr

Sunday, November 14, made it three years since Nigeria delivered one of their best performances as they came back from two goals down to beat a star-studded Argentina in an international friendly in Russia.

It was one of the Super Eagles best displays under head coach Gernot Rohr. In fact, 2016-2017 would be remembered as the year the three-time African champions played their best under the German tactician.

Before the win over Argentina, the Super Eagles had dispatched Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia with ease in their group for the 2018 World Cup qualifier.

At that time, it was a joy to watch the Super Eagles, even though they failed to make the second round of the World Cup six months later.

However, three years after giving fans hope, the Super Eagles are now a shadow of their former self. On Saturday, they moved closer towards securing a playoff spot in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers with a 2-0 win over Liberia at the Stade Ibn Batouta.

Penalties from Victor Osimhen and Ahmed Musa were enough to give Rohr’s men the much-needed points. But despite the win, the general play from the Super Eagles was once again poor, reinforcing the point that the team has regressed under Rohr.

The performance in Tangiers on Saturday was an eyesore as the Super Eagles struggled to impose themselves on the game.

Although they might have lost, the Liberian team looked more organised and had an identity compared to the Super Eagles.

The general play was disjointed, with the team lacking a definite style of play, which is obviously a coaching problem.

The Super Eagles were the clear favourites heading into the as they had far-better players playing in Europe’s top leagues, yet it was the Liberian team that had a sense of direction in their play.

And it’s important to note that the game against Liberia was not just a one-off performance. This has been ongoing for more than a year, especially against oppositions they are expected to beat.

The team plays dysfunctional at the moment despite the array of talents in the squad. And it can only be a coaching problem because these are the same players that perform very well at their clubs every week.

While one could argue that the most important thing is the win, it still doesn’t excuse the dysfunctional display against inferior opposition.

Rohr has always been a conservative coach, which is not a bad thing. However, even the pragmatic coaches switch things up when they come up against oppositions they are expected to beat.

The Super Eagles have played Sierra Leone, Benin, Lesotho, Liberia (twice), Cape Verde and the Central African Republic(twice) in the last 12 months.

Aside from the shocking home loss to CAR last month, they have won all the matches, yet the performance in these games do not instil confidence.

Although the Super Eagles have no right to win a particular game, they are expected to entertain fans against inferior oppositions like Liberia.

But that has not been the case with the team, as they have looked dysfunctional despite these wins. This shows the team has regressed under Rohr.

The German is entering his sixth year as the coach of the Super Eagles, but he still has not built an exciting team to watch.

And it is even more ridiculous, taking into consideration that this has been the best set of players the Super Eagles have had in almost 20 years.

Three years, ago when Nigeria played their best football under him, he was conservative. Still, the transition play was beautiful, and they were also brilliant on the counter-attacks, which was evident in the games against Algeria and Argentina.

But three years later, the Super Eagles are no longer an exciting team to watch, despite the number of talents in the squad.

They lack a definite pattern and an identity. In the game against Argentina three years ago, Rohr played a 3-5-2, which was also the formation he used against Liberia on Saturday, but there was a stark contrast in the performances.

Nigeria need just a point in their final group game against Cape Verde to reach the playoff spot. But judging by recent performances, it is not a given that the team will get the job done.

And even if they managed to get the required point, the three-time African champions face a big challenge of beating the likes of Egypt, Mali Dr Congo, or Ivory Coast, who they are likely to meet in the two-legged playoff round.

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