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Since 2016, Nigeria have been on the rise in world football. The Football Association took a more youthful outlook towards the national team. Young Nigerians all over Europe were contacted by the FA and committed to play for the Super Eagles. A new generation of the Super Eagles led by Leon Balogun, Wilfred Ndidi, Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho will be seen in Russia. The team strolled through qualifying, easily dispatching African heavyweights Algeria and Cameroon, and 2012 AFCON winners Zambia. The west Africans scored 11 goals, joint-second highest scorers on the continent.This new generation is marshalled by German coach Gernot Rohr. What makes this new-look side worth the hype? As part of Joy Sports focus on African teams, here’s a tactical look at how they shape up.System & StyleRohr is perhaps most famously known for leading French side Bordeaux to the UEFA Cup final in 1996. He stayed in France, going on to coach Nice, Nantes and Ajaccio. After 2009, the German found himself on the international coaching scene. Rohr spent time as coach of nations like Gabon, Niger and Burkina Faso before finally being appointed as head coach of Nigeria in 2016. He instilled team spirit, discipline and a strong mentality to the new wave of Nigerian starlets who now carry the mantle of the Super Eagles.“The African style of football is all about improvisation and creativity, but also sometimes involves forgetting about discipline and defensive organization,” Gernot Rohr said in an interview with The Guardian newspaper. This is a summary of Rohr’s style in itself. The German has created a potent counterattacking side who can beat any team on their day. Gernot Rohr opts for his trusted 4-2-3-1, for defensive security and efficient counterattacks. Nigeria’s gameplan involves a compact defensive approach with the aim to win the ball and create goalscoring chances on the counter. This team breaks with serious pace in the frontline, something that will surely cause problems to the bigger sides they will meet. Rohr’s men defend as a unit and rely on their midfield to transition rapidly. Nigeria will play direct football to exploit the pace and skill of their frontline. System Strengths:Nigeria’s most potent weapon is their counter attacking ability. Rohr bases his gameplan on using direct football to stretch the opponent and cause havoc in the final 3rd. The electric pace of the Nigerian frontline will definitely be a problem when the tournament kicks off. Their technical ability is frightening too. Alex Iwobi’s drives the team forward with finesse, guile and electric dribbling ability, Victor Moses can easily beat his opponent to get into the box or cross from the byline and Odion Ighalo is a scary combination of strength, speed and finishing. If that is not enough to put opponents on high alert, the supporting cast is as good as the starters. Ahmed Musa was Nigeria’s top scorer in their last world cup with two goals. Kelechi Iheanacho, the Super Eagles’ youngest attacker, has 8 goals in 18 caps. The Leicester man is considered as one of the best young strikers in Europe and the whole world will bear witness in Russia. The midfield plays a huge role in Rohr’s counter attacking system. Former Chelsea man John Obi Mikel plays ahead of the two ball winners, Ogenyi Onazi and Wilfred Ndidi in Rohr’s setup. They operate at the base of the midfield to shield the defence. Ndidi and Onazi excel in breaking up play and Mikel conducts the play and dictates the pace of the game with his intelligent ball distribution. What the midfield trio possess in common is the ability to transition from defence to attack, each of them comfortable with pinging passes from deep positions to open up defences and supply the forwards in the final third.System Weakness: Nigeria’s weakness will be the relative inexperience of the defence. The expected back five of Uhozo, Shehu, Balogun, Troos-Ekong and Idowu have a combined 77 caps and an average age of 24.4 years.There will be huge question marks surrounding this defence as players like Uzoho and Idowu recently became full internationals. The defensive players have the talent, but there are concerns that they are too young and raw. Teams need defenders with big-time experience to succeed in major tournaments. Rohr decided to ditch Ikechukwu Ezenwa and put faith in 19-year-old Francis Uzoho to start between the sticks in Russia. The keeper has appeared in recent friendlies and has only 6 caps in total. After Vincent Enyeama’s departure from the international scene and Carl Ikeme’s leukemia diagnosis, the Super Eagles have struggled to find a decent shot stopper. Nigeria’s hopes on qualifying lie on the shoulders of a teenager who has only 180 minutes of senior competitive football under his belt with Deportivo La Coruna.SummaryDefeats in their recent warm-up matches have caused quite a stir in the media. However, Rohr sees these losses as an opportunity refocus attention on the squad’s deficiencies before the tournament begins. Their superb attacking ability and mentality as a team saw them past Zambia, Cameroon and Algeria. They are capable of causing a few upsets and they have the personnel to pull it off. The Super Eagles must be at their best to escape the group. It’s a three-way fight for second place with Croatia and Iceland. Nigeria possess a team that can overcome these odds, but their hopes of qualification rely on that first encounter with Croatia.– #JoyWorldCup: Click here for our full coverage Click here for Nigeria team profile–Follow the World Cup with the Multimedia Group! With live English radio commentary on Joy 99.7 FM radio, Akan radio commentary on Asempa 94.7 FM and livestreaming on Myjoyonline.com, we’ve got you covered all-tournament long.