Several players in the Olympic Eagles’ squad that lost 2-0 to Libya in the first leg of their Africa U-23 Cup of Nations qualifier on Wednesday have been rated very low by pundits and fans.
In what has been adjudged a disappointing performance by a disunited, hastily assembled squad, which lacked blending and coordinated play, only one of the players ended up with above average marks.
Critics are also pointing fingers of fault at the coach, Imama Amapakabo for relying basically on foreign-based players, to the detriment of several talents in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
Pundits are unanimous that, aside Villarreal of Spain winger, Samuel Chukwueze, almost all the lads on offer in Bergendan, Tunisia were found wanting against Libya.
Collated verdicts on each of the players stated in part: Adamu Abubakar: Looked very uncomfortable with crosses and badly positioned for the first goal. Got a red card for ball handling outside the box. 2/10
John Lazarus: Offered guilty of playing high up when defending was needed, such that he was lost when Libya scored their second goal. 4/10
Ebube Duru: Looked shaky with the ball at his feet and was guilty of poor decision making. 3/10
Joshua Akpudje: He was at fault for the first goal, as he backed down and reacted too slow, then had a shaky game throughout. 3/10
Stephen Egbe: Was lost in central defence and was also part of the fault in the first goal, then had poorly timed tackles in dangerous areas. 3/10
Azubuike Okechukwu: Started well but faded in the second half, mostly due to poor understanding with Nwakali in midfield and failed to stamp his authority as team captain and the most experienced of all. 5/10
Kelechi Nwakali: He was timid, tentative and shaky, which saw him lose possession severally, while also delaying passes into attack. 4/10
Muyiwa Olabiran: He was robust with tackles, busy in his efforts up front and falling back into midfield, but poor coordination let him down. 4/10
Samuel Chukwueze: Lost possession in vital areas and tried to dribble too many players, but his sparks kept the opponents busy, especially when he provided a late in-swinger that gave Awoniyi a chance. 6/10
Dennis Bonaventure: Might have done better had he not been sacrificed due to Adamu’s red card, but also struggled on the synthetic pitch. 4/10
Taiwo Awoniyi: Appeared overwhelmed with the top striker’s duty and trying to replicate club form in the green-and-white, but his ball holding abilities were still good enough to keep the Libyans worried. 5/10
Olawale Oremade: Very composed and settled better than Adamu; he dealt well with crosses and was not at fault for the second goal. 5/10
Chidera Ezeh: He could not settle into the game to show any threat against the hosts, after stepping off the bench latre for Olabiran. 2/10