2018 World Cup: Why Super Eagles may flop – Ex-international, Akanni

Posted on Jun 3 2018 - 6:18pm by admin

Former Super Eagles player, Waidi Akanni says the pairing of William Troost-Ekong and Leon Balogun at the heart of the national team’s defence may mar Nigeria’s chances at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Two first-half goals by England defender Gary Cahill and striker Harry Kane proved enough to give the home side a 2-1 victory over the Super Eagles at Wembley.

In a chat with NAN, Akanni said: “I have never been too comfortable with them. I am happy Omeruo has come back and I think he should give them stiff competition.

“So far, Ekong and Balogun have not been playing well together like they did during the qualifiers. With Omeruo jumping into the fray, I think we will have a better defence line.

“In the end, it will be between Ekong, Omeruo and Balogun. But I am happy Omeruo did enough to show the coach that he could compete for a place in our central defence”.

The former player, however, acknowledged that playing England at the Wembley Stadium could have made the Eagles jittery in the first half.

“It was Nigeria’s first high-profile game in a while and we were playing against England in London. So, you will expect that the first half for the Eagles would not be that perfect.

“Of course, maybe they were trying to study the England team and their play. But they were able to make up in the second half whatever they did wrong in the first,” he said.

Akanni also believed that coach Gernot Rohr’s team selection and set-up played their parts in the outcome of the game.

“It was a very interesting friendly game. Nigeria didn’t start on a good note by way of players’ selection and set-up but the second half was a bit better.

“They were able to score a goal and they were able to get behind the English defenders like they never did in the first half.

“Basically, we need to work on the left-back and then of course one or two players in the midfield. Once we get a good combination, I think we will do well.”

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