Lookman's beef with Finidi after Ghana, Mali friendlies: Justified annoyance or overreaction? 

Published: March 29, 2024
Lookman's beef with Finidi after Ghana, Mali friendlies: Justified annoyance or overreaction? 

The Super Eagles' recent international friendlies were a mixed bag.

While the results themselves were not exactly very positive, whispers of discontent within the camp have emerged, particularly surrounding the relationship between winger Ademola Lookman and interim coach Finidi George. 

Reports suggest a rift between the two, after the 26-year-old started on the bench by Finidi during the March international friendly matches against Ghana and Mali.

Fans were perplexed after Lookman's frustration was seemingly hinted by a top team source to Score Nigeria, stating that the former England youth international was very displeased by the coach's bizarre decision to start him from the bench in both friendly matches despite stellar performances at AFCON 2023.

Let's delve into the reasons why Lookman's supposed annoyance might be justified.

The talented winger who was Nigeria's top scorer at AFCON 2023, currently excelling at Atalanta, arguably offers a different dimension to the Nigerian attack. 

His ability to cut inside and create scoring chances for himself and his teammates is unarguably a priceless asset as seen in the second goal he scored against Ghana and he might have been able to make the difference in the 2-0 loss to Mali had it been his second half inclusion was early enough.

If Lookman was indeed temporarily frozen out due to tactical reasons, it's understandable that he would feel disappointed. 

Furthermore, considering the national team is currently under interim leadership, establishing a strong connection between players and coach is crucial.

If communication has broken down between Lookman and Finidi, it could have a negative impact on team morale and overall performance. 

Looking ahead, open communication will be key. If Lookman feels he's not being given a fair chance, a frank discussion with Finidi is necessary to clear the air.

The national team needs all its best players firing on all cylinders, and any lingering tension between Lookman and the coach wouldn't benefit anyone. 

Ultimately, while the extent of Lookman's discontent remains unclear, his supposed frustration highlights the importance of fostering a positive team environment under interim coach Finidi.

Only through clear communication and mutual respect can the Super Eagles achieve their full potential on the international stage. 

Ejim Kaycee


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