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After a much fought for slim victory over Namibia on Sunday, the Eagles must now make their superiority count on the road against Malawi

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By Babajide Alaka

The Malawian senior national football team are known as the Flames and the Super Eagles must be wary so that their wings are not burnt in Blantyre on Saturday. It is heartening to note that the players paraded by Nigeria against Namibia last Sunday gave their all and duly warranted the victory, though the 1-0 win did not tell the whole story.

Results from around Africa on the 2014 World Cup Brazil qualifying day one showed that there are no small teams on the continent as Ethiopia proved against South Africa in Johannesburg. The 1-1 result against the supposed minnows has already cost Pitso Mosimane his job as the Bafana Bafana coach.

Let us turn to Nigeria and the lessons that the players must imbibe if the team is to get a victory against Malawi on their home ground. Here are the five things Stephen Keshi must ensure in Blantyre.

5. PLAYERS MUST PLAY TO THE WHISTLE AND NOT ASSUME

Over the years, we have witnessed a lot of biased officiating on away grounds so the players must be ready to play against Malawi and the referee. No unnecessary arguments and they must make sure that the pressure on the opponents' attackers is always away from the box if it can be helped.

4. ENYEAMA MUST COMMUNICATE WITH CENTRAL DEFENDERS
Though he was virtually on break for most of the match against Namibia, Vincent Enyeama must communicate much more with his central defenders if Nigeria is not to concede goals in Blantyre. The stand-in captain must show leadership from behind by constantly speaking to the younger defenders and letting them know how to arrange themselves. It is key to keeping a clean sheet on the road.

3. GIVE UZOENYI THE LICENCE TO ROAM

Ejike Uzoenyi is by far the best dribbler in the current Eagles squad and most creative. He must not be bogged down to the right wing but allowed to express himself across the front line. He should also be encouraged to switch with Moses some times during the match to confuse the Malawian defenders.

2. DROP UTAKA AND MOVE MOSES TO THE LEFT 

Utaka did not have a bad game against Namibia but away in Blantyre, we will need more speed and trickery down the wings to constantly create chances for the strikers. The young Moses has the speed to break down any defence and will be better to start the game.

1. EAGLES MUST TAKE THE FIRST INITIATIVE

As the team started against Namibia on Sunday, so it must against the Flames. This will frighten and subdue the crowd and also dampen the enthusiasm of the home side that is currently buoyed by the away draw they got against Kenya in Nairobi. If the Eagles start out with an offensive formation, they will keep their opponents in check for most of the game. To start with a defensive mindset will be to concede initiative to the Flames. Keshi must avoid that. An early goal for the Eagles will all but silence the home crowd.

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