The excitement of the International window has come and gone as the world returns to the glamour of club football; from the major leagues to the backwaters of European, Asian and even African football for the Nigerian stars.
So before we enter the thick of the action from this weekend, when hopefully Nigerian players also get minutes, this here will provide our rating of the players and the form they’d likely take back to their respective club sides.
And oh, we’ll use just the ‘only’ competitive game the Super Eagles played during the international window… in Victoria against Seychelles – the 2019 Afcon qualifier.
The ‘Young’ goalkeeper returned to the Eagles after an indifferent world cup outing to man the sticks as Gernot Rohr’s first choice. It seems because he was a pedestrian for the most part against the Pirates, Uzoh forced some action.
He made a couple of poor clearances and very questionable decisions on his timing with aerial balls.
As a center-half he didn’t have much to do because Seychelles weren’t much of an attacking threat for the most part. However there were few moments when he was called to action and he slacked off. He even got booked.
He was rock solid even on a terrible and unfamiliar playing surface. Leon played high into the opponent’s area on a few occasions; playing from the back, and making some very good tackles.
He was all over the place bossing the right side of the Nigeria defence and partnering Samuel Kalu up front. It was perhaps his best game for Nigeria, chucking up a goal as well. He made very few mistakes, but his day abruptly came to an end after he picked up a knock and had to be replaced.
The Russia based defender returned to the left side of the Eagles back four and showed flashes of his attacking flair. He fell short when he found space to provide a telling pass or final ball. His crosses aren’t hsi strongest ability, but he wouldn’t care one bit.
The midfielder came back into the Eagles starting line up on the back of a good run with his Turkish cub, Trabzonspor. He was solid in midfield, but with a few skirmishes here and there, but nothing major to worry about. He also seemed to have lost some accuracy on his long range shots.
He formed a midfield partnership with Onazi that stifled the home side for the most part of the game. Ndidi was called for some very soft tackles, but not enough to mar his strong performance on the day.
Played as part of a midfield; as a number 10, but he was a shade pale and nothing connected – his free kick that led to the second goal being the glowing exception. He was, perhaps, the biggest victim of the artificial surface on the Nigerian side. He was also booked, whether it was deserved or not is open to public opinion.
If the Bordeaux Winger was suppose to be on audition for the vacuum created by the international retirement of Victor Moses, Kalu passed with flying colors. He was involved in the majority of attacking play that led to a goal or attempt. He missed only a goal to score full points.
The winger was one part of the attacking trident Gernot Rohr threw at the host and he took to the Stade Linite turf like Fish to water. Musa ran for 90 minutes and was denied a goal only because it came off the goalkeeper as it bounced away from goal.
He scored a penalty and kept the Seychelles defence busy for 90 minutes. He found himself off side on too many occasions, but kept plugging away for a goal from open play – but that eluded him.
The midfielder replaced Kelechi and had a pretty decent game. He was busy in the midfield at a time when the host found their rhythm and got their mojo back.
The defender was handed his senior team debut and it was not disappointing, well, giving the quality of the opposition, Ajayi was very comfortable. He settled in early and was making runs to join the attack – and yes he’s got the feet to whip in good crosses.
He’s s speedster and will leave defenders in a pile up – it’s a new specialty of his. He drew a save from the Seychelles goalie, Dave Mussard. He was lively, but got only a cameo.