The Super Eagles of Nigeria took on the Syli National of Guinea in a friendly match on Monday. Both sides were looking to get some momentum going ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations, which kicks off on 13 January.
In an interesting turn of events, the Super Eagles suffered a 2-0 loss to Kaba Diawara's side. These are five things we learned from Monday's loss:
Early goals are killing Super Eagles morale
It may interest you to know that the Super Eagles have a tendency to concede first when they play. Including Monday's loss, José Peseiro's troops have allowed the first goal in five consecutive matches, excluding Sunday's friendly with a local Dubai side.
This isn't a particularly good look for a team on a quest to win a continental title.
The Super Eagles have played two FIFA World Cup qualifying games so far, and they were the overwhelming favourites in both matches. However, Peseiro's men had to try and claw their way back into both matches, after conceding first.
In those five matches where they conceded first, Nigeria have one win, three draws and a loss.
You don't win titles when you can't score
While the Super Eagles have trailed at some point in their previous five matches, another major concern is their lack of goals. As a matter of fact, Nigeria have scored a total of two goals in their last three matches across all competitions. This is a team that has players like Victor Osimhen and Victor Boniface.
In their loss to Guinea, Nigeria had a golden chance to get back on level terms in the first half, but Moses Simon couldn't convert from the spot. While it is said that defence wins championships, it's going to be difficult for this team to reach the knockout stages, let alone win AFCON 2023 if they're unable to find the net.
Kingdom Osayi should've made the team
Peseiro made the decision to start Stanley Nwabali ahead of Francis Uzoho. In spite of this, the Super Eagles' fortunes didn't get any better, as they saw their defence breached twice. While this isn't entirely on the goalkeeper, it raises questions about the snub of Doma United's Kingdom Osayi from the AFCON squad.
To put things into perspective, the Super Eagles have now conceded in 10 of their last 12 matches across all competitions. Now, you have a goalkeeper who kept 12 clean sheets in 16 NPFL games, and he didn't even make the provisional 40-man squad. It's even worse when you realize that Osayi went 810 minutes without conceding in Nigeria's top flight this season.
Resting key players may not have been the brightest idea
Boniface has apparently picked up a knock, and faces a late fitness test ahead of Sunday's clash with Equatorial Guinea. However, Peseiro opted to keep Osimhen on the bench on Monday.
Truth be told, the Napoli forward had a field day in the Super Eagles' test match against a local Dubai team. However, it makes no sense to use the starters in that game, then rest them when you're playing against a much better side.
Peseiro might not be the man for the Super Eagles job
Since Peseiro took the coaching job in May 2022, the Super Eagles' have not performed as well as expected. Yes, they had a solid AFCON 2023 qualifying campaign, but other than that, the results have been below par.
Due to Nigeria's recent performances, there isn't a lot of optimism heading into the Nations Cup. It remains to be seen if the Portuguese coach can lead the Super Eagles to glory in Ivory Coast.