Nigeria legend Okocha critiques WC performance
While many Nigeria fans may have felt like they were on their own island in mourning their defeat against Croatia last night, it turns out that even legends of the game can be affected even after their playing days are over. Case and point: Super Eagles icon Jay-Jay Okocha has commented on the defeat against the Europeans in the group opener, stating that manager Gernot Rohr played certain players out of position throughout the course of the game.
Okocha believed that Alex Iwobi should’ve been given the chance to run the show through the middle, whereas captain John Obi Mikel should’ve been placed further back in more of a defensive midfielder type of position. Whether you agree with him or not doesn’t matter because it’s certainly notable, and with two games left to save their World Cup campaign, it’ll be interesting to see if Rohr concurs with this assessment and takes the proper action. When it comes to his actual explanation behind his reasons, Okocha stated that Mikel doesn’t possess the kind of creative flair necessary to aid the likes of Victor Moses and Iwobi. While that can be seen as quite a stereotypical statement given that he’s named two of the most nameworthy players in the squad, it seems as if plenty of Nigeria fans also believe that the tactics behind the loss last night contributed significantly to their downfall.
The 44-year-old Okocha was born in Enugu, Nigeria, and went on to play 75 times for his country over the course of a remarkable 13-year international career. Okocha was highly regarded by many fans both in Europe and Africa, stemming back to his days with Paris Saint-Germain and Bolton Wanderers. He also knew what it felt like to have success on an international level, too, winning one African Cup of Nations title in 1994 as well as an Olympic gold medal in 1996. Nigeria were second best all over the pitch during their 2-0 defeat last night, with many commenting on the fact that Croatia didn’t even look all that inspiring in victory. Alas, it was a win that handed them full control of Group D, with Nigeria currently residing at the bottom as the only team still left on 0 points with one game played. However, the beauty of the World Cup is that they’ll be able to rectify their mistakes almost instantly, with their next game coming up on Friday when they face another sturdy test in the form of Iceland. That’ll be seen as a must-win for the African side, especially given that their third and final group stage encounter will be against Argentina on Tuesday, June 26th.