Expert Opinion: How The Eagles Rated Against Burkina Faso

Published: January 22, 2013
Expert Opinion: How The Eagles Rated Against Burkina FasoNigerian football expert and Editor, runs the rule on the Super Eagles players after their first game at the African Cup of Nations against the Stallions of Burkina Faso.

Vincent Enyeama: 7/10 - The Maccabi Tel Aviv custodian is one of the experienced players in the Eagles squad. Was on holiday for most part of the game. Off the ball, like a war commander, he barked orders to the defense effectively.

Joseph Yobo: 5 - The clock is ticking, very fast, for Yobo and his relevance to the National Team. The Fenerbahçe SK center back was involved in several defensive mix - ups. The strongest memory viewers picked from Monday's game was Yobo's partner Godfrey Oboabona instructing the rest of the defenders. Where was Joseph Yobo?

Godfrey Oboabona: 7 - Kudos to the Sunshine Stars skipper he did not suffer stage fright. If there's one thing we all learnt from the match against the Stallions, Oboabona has been identified as a future Super Eagles captain in the making. And if not for him, Yobo could have been more exposed!

Elderson Echiejile: 5 - Wherever you watched the match - in the pub or in the living room with friends - the verdict on the Sporting Braga wing back will remain the same; several complaints about him. If we are truly rebuilding, Echiejile is not the long term solution to the left back role. You only need to compare him to Ben Iroha, Ifeanyi Udeze, Celestine Babayaro and Taye Taiwo. Then his flaws become more glaring. Make no mistake about this. Defensively, he was above average. But going forward, he lacked ideas, one of the most important qualities of a modern day full back.

Efe Ambrose: 5 - It was always going to be tough for Efe playing in the right back position. Might have a rich CV stating that he's a defensive all-rounder and can be handy in midfield. The right back position is the Celtic's defender least favored role. The Stallions with their robust wing play capitalized on that weakness to launch attacks through his position.

Fegor Ogude: 7 - To win a tournament of this magnitude, most teams rely on a 'water - carrier' , a role made popular by Didier Deschamps. Even if his positioning let him down some times, the Vålerenga midfielder did a yeoman's job. It did not come as a surprise the Nigerian midfield collapsed after he was substituted. He could have been a candidate to replace the dismissed Ambrose at right back if he had remained on the pitch. Well done, Fegor!

Mikel Obi: 9 - What more can I say about this brilliant player? The experts have already spoken by picking him as the Most Valuable Player. The Chelsea star stamped his authority in the game. Primus inter pares. If Nigeria are to progress far in this tournament, the handlers should rely on the influence of this box-to-box midfielder.

Nosa Igiebor : 5 - Whatever role Keshi gave Nosa against Burkina Faso diminished his qualities as he was anonymous. The attacking flair was missing from the Real Betis midfielder. Should stand up and be counted against  Zambia or he may lose his starting shirt.

Ahmed Musa: 6 - Might be a popular player for lovers of the beautiful game Jogo Bonito. The CSKA Moscow winger loves to entertain the crowd to the detriment of the team, sometimes losing possession. There can be only one Jay Jay Okocha, one Cristiano Ronaldo and one Ahmed Musa - no duplicate of an individual. This could be a tournament to attract scouts as many clubs especially from the Premier League in England are represented in South Africa. Nevertheless, Musa should be more businesslike in subsequent games and prove why he's one of the special talents in the game.

Brown Ideye: 7 - His inclusion in the starting line - up surprised everybody. Ideye silenced his critics, hopefully, once and for all with unarguably his best performance in a green and white jersey. On top of that, the Dynamo Kiev striker produced a brilliant moment of skill to assist Emenike in the opening goal. Good for the television cameras. Certainly, you will see that replay on TV again and again as the tournament winds down.

Emmanuel Emenike: 6 - After his 23rd minute strike, Emenike became peripheral and struggled in this game. It was only a matter of time Stephen Keshi substituted him, one tactical decision the coach got right.

Kenneth Omeruo: 4 - May be popular with the Press and fans due to his rookie status. The television screen was not deceiving you. It was glaring Omeruo was very nervous when he was introduced and did not prove he's better than Efe Ambrose defensively or offensively. Now expected to start in the absence of Ambrose against Zambia, the psychologist of the Super Eagles must work on him!

Ikechukwu Uche: 6 - To be used as an impact substitute could be the reasoning behind Keshi leaving the Villarreal ace on the bench. And it shows how highly regarded he is in these parts. Uche was more lively than Emenike. If mother luck smiled on him, could have scored a goal or two.

Eddy Onazi: 4 - Did not adapt effectively in shielding the Super Eagles defense. Entirely not his fault. The whole midfield collapsed when Fegor was substituted. Expected to gain more confidence as the tournament progresses. One of the rising stars of Nigeria football, Barcelona super-star Xavi approached him for his jersey after the Catalonia friendly and tipped him to be a future star.


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