Stars without purpose: What’s wrong with Super Eagles?

 Stars without purpose: What’s wrong with Super Eagles?

The Super Eagles of Nigeria is the most valuable national team in Africa.

They began their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign against Lesotho on Thursday night with a disappointing 1-1 draw.

The three-time African champions were the clear favourites going into the clash against the side from Southern Africa but could only salvage a point at home.

With a squad of that quality, no one expected that they would concede first against a 151st-ranked Crocodiles of Lesotho or even finish the game without 3points. The match left many fans angry because of the performance of the team and some even calling for the Nigerian football federation to sack Super Eagles’ head coach Jose Peseiro after their shaky start to the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier.

Even with star forward Victor Osimhen and injured Wilfred Ndidi, Peseiro and his Eagles were expected to win all three points in Uyo. But in the end, it was a disappointment as Nigeria’s Super Eagles had to come from behind after the Crocodiles took an unexpected lead, with Ajayi scoring a towering header in the 67th minute to only just manage a draw.

Super Eagles head coach Jose Peseiro

The blame game continued as usual, with head coach Jose Peseiro emerging as the main victim due to his inability to persuade Nigerian fans of his ability to have an impact on the team. Names like Taiwo Awoniyi, Victor Boniface, Ademola Lookman, Kelechi Iheanacho, and Alex Iwobi were on the team on the team that faced Lesotho, but they were all sluggish, lacking in creativity, and extremely wasteful in front of goal.

In just a few months, Nigeria will play the elites of African Football in the African Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast, but even the most hopeful supporters of the Super Eagles are doubtful that their team will have much of a chance to advance beyond their group, which also includes hosts Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, and Guinea Bissau in the forthcoming AFCON.

The team’s play pattern is distinctly unclear and lacks harmony. This makes them vulnerable and could experience unsettling outcomes similar to what happened against Lesotho. A great result is not always guaranteed just because elite players like the aforementioned ones are doing well for their various clubs and are now put together in the national team. They are from various clubs where they are accustomed to clear-cut tactical schemes which many believe is missing in the Super Eagles camp.

The performance against Lesotho begs the question of what is wrong with the Nigerian national team? Could the problem be the coach or that the players are not willing to represent? Recall that Nigeria missed out on 2022 World Cup and they have started qualification for 2026 World Cup in an unimpressive form.

The qualifiers continues on Sunday and the Nigerian national team would be hoping to bounce back against The Warriors of Zimbabwe. A win will take the Super Eagles to four points.

See also: AFCON: Can Nigeria survive ‘group of death’? — see full list

Ezeh Chimezie 

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