- Super Eagles lack a natural attacking midfielder in the current team
- Former captain Austin Okocha made the revelations
- The 47-year-old insists the team can only succeed if they solve the problem
Nigerian legend, Austin Okocha, has blamed the Super Eagles' recent struggles on the absence of an attacking midfielder in the team.
The three-time African champions failed to win any of their two-legged AFCON 2022 qualifying games against Sierra Leone last month.
They were forced to back-to-back draws by the Leone Stars which in turn made them slip three places to 35th on the latest FIFA rankings.
However, the 47-year-old who won 73 caps for the national team believes they can only succeed if they fix that missing link in the team.
It would be recalled that Okocha played in that role for the West African country and since his retirement, they are yet to find a suitable replacement for him. Goal quoted Okocha via Brila FM:
“What the Eagles need now are natural midfielders who can create chances and change the course of a game. We need midfielders who can run at defenders and a pick their teammates with good passes.
“We have good midfielders but not in at that level at the moment. Some of them are just scared and the fact that they are being compared to the 1994 Eagles brings a bit of pressure on them.”
The former Premier League star also believes Eagles head coach, Gernot Rohr, has been excellent since he took over in 2016.
He led them to win a bronze medal at the 2019 AFCON championship in Egypt while also qualifying them for the 2018 FIFA World Cup but crashed out at the group stage. He continued;
“For now, I will score him seven out of 10 because when he came in, things were not steady, and he has steadied the ship now.
“He inherited an abandoned team, and so for now, he is following his own direction. He has created his own team.
“But we all know football is about results, of course, if the results don’t go his way, our people will criticise him, you know everybody in Nigeria is a coach.
“But if results go his way, of course, we will praise him. Even if you are the best coach, if you don’t get results, you will be under pressure.”
Okocha added that he is in support of the recent contract extension handed to Rohr by the Nigeria Football Federation and believes it will help the Super Eagles' stability.
“I’m in support of the contract extension because for every country to be successful, you need continuity, and you need direction."
Legit.ng earlier reported that Nigerian winger Ahmed Musa plays down a potential move to Championship club Sheffield Wednesday during the January transfer window.
The 28-year-old forward recently parted ways with Suadi Arabian side Al Nassr on mutual consent in a bid to revive his career at a competitive club.
Premier League outfits like Newcastle United and West Ham United are reportedly watching out for the player and there's a chance they might make a move a few weeks from now.
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