Former Nigerian striker, Jonathan Akpoborie, has urged Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr to utilise the wing-play to get the best out of the strikers in the team.
Rohr on Monday prone his 31-man list for the games to 24, with the likes of Peter Olayinka (Slavia Praha, Czech Republic); Terem Moffi (FC Lorient, France); Paul Onuachu (KRC Genk, Belgium), and Simy Nwankwo (Crotone FC, Italy) making the final cut.
All the strikers invited have had an exceptional season with their respective clubs. Onuachu finished as the top scorer in the Belgian top-flight with 33 goals, while Simy scored 20 goals in the Italian Serie A.
Moffi was one of the top scorers in the French Ligue 1 with 14 goals for Lorient. Although Olayinka was not as prolific as the first three, he still scored 11 times and provided five assists in all competitions for Slavia Prague.
But despite their brilliant displays in the just-concluded season, question marks have been raised on how Rohr can get the best from them.
Only Victor Osimhen has had considerable success as a striker under Rohr. Although Onuachu scored in his last two games for Nigeria, he’s not Rohr’s favourite.
Simy last played for Nigeria at the 2018 World Cup, while Moffi only received his first call-up on Monday ahead of the friendly game against Cameroon next month.
However, speaking with Soccernet.ng, Akpoborie stated that the wing-play pattern of play could help the team play to the strength of strikers.
“At this point in time, Rohr has a variety of quality strikers that can deliver goals for the Super Eagles, the former Wolfsburg star said.
“In the just-concluded European season, some of the invited players scored many goals for their respective clubs.”
“But at the senior level, we don’t seem to get the best out of them, something that really worries me a lot.
“If I am in Rohr’s shoes, I will definitely apply the wing-play pattern of play where they can supply the strikers with quality crosses that I know will be converted by them.”
“That has always been our style of football in the past, and I see no reason why we cannot go back to it in order to get the best from our strikers.
“Back then, Emmanuel Amuneke and Finidi George are always there to supply the crosses into the 18-yard box of our opponent, and the late Rashidi Yekini of blessed memory will gladly convert it. This is what I am talking about.
Akpoborie, who was part of the Nigerian team that won the first edition of the FIFA U-16 Championship in 1985, scoring in the final against the then-West Germany team, also noted that the Super Eagles attack would be a force to reckon with if well managed by Rohr.
“I am very optimistic that the current crop of strikers in the Super Eagles can score goals and qualify Nigeria for any major tournaments if well managed by Rohr.