Nigeria’s 1-0 defeat to Morocco in their second group game of the CAF U17 Africa Cup of Nations served a few observations and here are the three talking points.
The Eaglets are good, but no goals to show for it:
Despite losing to Morocco 1-nil courtesy of a wicked deflected own goal by Tochukwu Ogboji.
In the opening minutes, the Golden Eaglets were by far the better team in terms of idea, chemistry, and footballing abilities however what they badly lacked was the composure and the ability to execute their ideas in the final third.
Credit must go to the Moroccan side for holding it down and defending well, but for all the good work in attack, one problem is very clear and needs to be addressed as fast as possible, the Golden Eaglets are struggling to score goals.
One goal in two games is not a good return for a team that models itself to play an attacking brand of football and should we get drawn into a goal-scoring frenzy we may come up short.
South Africa is a tougher nut than expected:
South Africa outscored Zambia who were considered favourites in that encounter 3-2 to set up a very exciting last group game against Nigeria.
After losing timidly against Morocco in the first game very few would have backed them to beat Zambia, but, despite throwing away a two-goal lead they finally got the winner and held on to it, to firmly put their destiny in their own hands.
Nigeria are better placed to join Morocco in the last eight as a draw would be enough to see the Golden Eaglets through thanks to their superior goal difference.
But just as earlier pointed, should South Africa start scoring, Nigeria will have to find goals and their struggles in front of goal in the last two games where they have been dominant is not a good sign.
Yahaya Lawali is a Gem:
For all the industry and attacking abilities of the Golden Eaglets, Yahaya Lawali has been flawless in both games.
The 16-year-old has almost everything pace, defensive abilities, on-the-ball abilities, good link-up plays and timely attacking overlapping runs.
Lawali has been very solid defensively and offensively he has been a treat, he should have also gotten a handful of assists had his attackers done justice to the quality of service he dished out.