Monday , January 17 2022

Nigeria should not forget the value of the experience while hunting for AFCON gold


Within a three-day period, Nigeria scored a qualification for the UN Cup in 2019, and then began preparations for the internationally friendly competition against Uganda in Asaba.

Failing to qualify for the last two final numbers of the leading continental tournament since their 2013 title visit has seen almost a whole generation of players being expanded out of a national team where long-standing and consistency have not been too obvious in the recent memory.

The team has experienced a composite transformation in the last two years under Gernot Rohr, with Germany placing a special emphasis on reducing the average age of the squad for long-term benefits.

Although Nigeria introduces the youngest team in the FIFA 2018 Global Cup with an average age of 25.9 years, reducing the age further further – and not appointing a number of experienced headteachers – the African champions could be costed by three – really true in Cameroon.

Perhaps the young team would have impressed the World Cup as they bagged the AFCON ticket without Captain Retired Victor Moses and Captain John Obi Mikel, but they need leaders on this inexperienced squad to have an impact on the continental competition.

It's important to note that the coach during the event has only made two players with AFCON experience, Ahmed Musa and Kenneth Omeruo as Nigeria has won a vital road point to South Africa.

The average age of an online line, including Victor Osimhen and Samuel Chukwueze against Uganda was 24.6 years old.

None of the absent members of the squad who gains AFCON in 2013 is unlikely to return at any time soon.

Efe Ambrose could be a competitor, but Rohr's desire to assess John Ogu midfielder in the middle of the defense in friendship against Uganda and Liberia suggests that he is willing to use his options at present.

A decision that could come back to battle the Rohr, especially with Leon Balogun and Chidozie Awaziem is relatively inactive at club level, and the lack of experience of Semi Ajayi.

30-year-old Ambrose is comfortably playing in any situation across the defense or as an anchor in mid-Wales, and continues to be among the most constant players in Nigeria in Europe.

It has appeared 20 times across all the competitions for Hibernian -12 league appearances, six Europa League appearances and two visits to the Scottish League Cup so far this season.

Is Rohr eager to reduce the average age of the squad denying Nigeria as an experienced end that could still have much to offer?

Another field that needs experience is a midfield, where Mikel's absence has felt genuinely, especially as the team threatens to bend against Libya in Sfax.

Since the first appearance of AFCON against Zimbabwe at Port Said Stadium in 2006, Mikel has collected 20 appearances, two third place finishes and shows a title across four issues of the tournament.

If he decides to return to the appearance of a fifth possible tournament, Mikel, who will be 32 at the start of the competition, could be the most valuable asset of the Super Eagles taking into account his unparalleled big game experience.

Rohr has a chance to ensure that he finds the right balance between youth and experience without enforcing the team's excessive rhythm.

Although 2018 has brought a lot of pledge, this is certainly an area where the German trainer needs to get right if Nigeria is to realize their potential in Cameroon.

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