- Wrong Tactics/Formation
The 3-4-2-1 system Peserio used starting from the second match against Ivory Coast in the group stage was working well for the Super Eagles, and it was this same system he used to navigate against Cameroon and Angola in the round of 16 and quarter final respectively. But the system was cut out against South Africa in the semi final as the South Africa coach Hugo Broos mirrored the same system to nullify Super Eagles counter attack which the Super Eagles coach had no choice but to alter his system to a back four. Nigeria would have lost the match if Peserio had not changed his formation in the second half.
Now, in the final, I expected him to have quickly changed his 3-4-2-1 formation after he might have noticed that the Ivorians took complete control of the midfield.
What he would have done was to change the formation in the second half to a 4-4-2 system by overcrowding your midfield to be able to battle it out and snuff out the threat of the Ivorian attack and use an extra striker to complement Osimhen.
- Outnumbered Midfield and Wrong Use Of Personnel
Nigeria’s midfield of Frank Onyeka and Alex Iwobi were overrun, overpowered, and easily dispossessed by the Ivory Coast’s midfield four of Seri, franck Kessie and Fofana were running the strings from midfield, dictating play and giving intricate passes to Adingra and Max Gradel to run riot on Ola Aina and Sanusi respectively.
Peserio would have matched the quality of the Ivorian midfield by fielding four midfielders to nullify the Ivorian midfield to dictate any play.
Peserio had no business starting Iwobi and Chukwueze in the final.
Alex Iwobi was nowhere to be found that night, he was lost in midfield and made Onyeka to be overworked – he made no pass, no tackles, could not mark or cover the defence. He was so lethargic. Yusuf Alhassan would have done a better job in the midfield compared to Iwobi.
Chukwueze on the other hand had no successful dribble take on, no attacking instinct, poses no threat moving forward and to make matter worse, he could not track back to help Ola Aina deal with the marauding run and dribble from Adingra.
He was a passenger on the field of play.
Finally, he would have subbed Ola Aina in the second half and bring in a fresh leg to contend with the spirited Adingra on the wings.
Simon Adingra terrorized Ola Aina throughout the match, and it was dribble past him that led to ballers second goal against Nigeria
- Ivorians were More Hungry
The Elephants showed more determination and commitment to win the trophy on home soil.
Even after going behind, they kept on coming at Nigeria in every split second, asking questions, testing Nwabali with long-range shot, putting our midfield to the sword, and causing unrest to our defence
The Ivorians were the better team on the night, and they deserved their third AFCON trophy.
Joseph Laleye, a graduate of Public Administration and Art enthusiast, is BrandiQSports Editor