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Africa Cup of Nations

Nigeria 0-0 Zimbabwe: What did we learn?

20:52 GMT+3 09/06/2019
Nigeria starting XI vs Seychelles
Gernot Rohr’s team was far from impressive, while Sunday Chidzambwa’s side were real warriors. Here are some talking points from the friendly in Asaba

  • Croatia vs. Nigeria - Nigeria fans

    Asaba suitability in question

    It’s now four games that the Super Eagles have played at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, but the venue has drawn criticism from the beginning as a poor choice because of the low spectacle it brings in terms of TV viewing and pitch conditions. Indeed, with the rain descending on the Delta State capital on Saturday evening, playing conditions became very difficult and less exciting. The Nigeria Football Federation need to have a serious rethink if Asaba will host more international fixtures in the near future.

  • Gernot Rohr - Nigeria vs. Uganda

    Team readiness in doubt

    Considered one of the favourites to lift a fourth Africa Cup of Nations title in Egypt, this should have been a game Nigeria impose themselves in showing their readiness for the tournament. That was, however, far from seen in Asaba, with Gernot Rohr’s team lacking coordination. Even when chances came the way of the likes of Paul Onuachu, Victor Osimhen and Ahmed Musa, they were all wasted. If getting a victory against a 110th-ranked Zimbabwe was difficult, how much more so would it be against lowly-ranked Afcon Group B opponents Burundi and Madagascar?

  • John Obi Mikel

    Mikel is still relevant

    Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel made his return to the national team for the first time in a year and practically kicked off from where he left off, with a commanding display in midfield, which won him the Man of the Match award. Just as Middlesbrough fans have come to adore him for his qualities, the same will be needed if Nigeria will make an impression in Egypt.

  • Samuel Chukwueze - Nigeria vs. Uganda

    Chukwueze is a valuable gem

    There had been questions raised on whether Samuel Chukwueze should represent Nigeria at Afcon or the Under-20 World Cup in Poland. His decision to pick the former was the right call as he will be a valuable asset in Egypt after his dazzling display in Asaba, where his movement on and off the ball, pace and trickery, were threats to the Zimbabweans and a joy to watch for the Nigerian faithful. He remained in top form despite having a cut to his head which needed to be bandaged. He’s shown he’s not only talented but a man of steel.

  • Knowledge Musona Zimbabwe

    Zimbabwe are real warriors

    The Warriors were clear underdogs heading into this tie but made the best of the situation by coming out strong and determined at the Stephen Keshi Stadium. They gave the Super Eagles a lot of trouble with some of their forward runs and chances which put the Nigerian backline on their knees. Even when Nigeria had their own chances, the Zimbabwean defense was very much alert with Edmore Sibanda making some very fine saves. With the kind of spirit they showed in Asaba, there is a lot to be hopeful for Sunday Chidzambwa’s men when Afcon proper kicks off.