The reality is that a win over Seychelles was expected even though Nigeria had already qualified and had no real or major stake on this game except pride and respect. Seychelles felt the same way, having been eliminated from contention. What was left to wonder about was whether Nigeria would score enough to set a record in margin of victory over an opponent. As things stood after today, Nigeria could not erase the 1959 record of a 10-1 victory over Dahomey. That record remains standing! Instead, the 3-1 victory was the result of this game against a vastly inferior opponent. In many ways, the result, the game, and the effort were all deeply troubling.
Early on, Nigeria huffed and puffed and its players unable to find any meaningful solution to the deep defensive wall put up by the visitors. The Nigerians tried to find the holes with passes but slow possession and inaccuracies defined results. Then they varied that with long passes over the defense but the passes were too long to be latched onto by the forwards. It was indeed a travesty watching Nigeria struggle.
Then in Nigeria's defense, goalie Uzoho's performance was so poor that Rohr must now question why he has stuck with Uzoho for so long. Akpeyi and Ezenwa were benched for lesser miscues than was seen today in Asaba from Uzoho. The difference is, perhaps, that Uzoho has European club credentials. That must count for a lot. Yet, a Nigerian team full of players with European credentials had an especially difficult time against a bunch of amateurs from one of the weakest footballing nations in the continent. Perhaps, Rohr has to think about that.
The game, as awful as it was, was opportunity for players such as Wilfred Ndidi and Henry Onyekuru to demonstrate quality. What was missing is that very few of their colleagues showed any such inclination. Even when Rohr sent in two tall payers -- Onuachu and Ajayi to take advantage of crosses against the resolute Seychelles' defense, it was still not good enough. After this, Rohr's period of being above criticism has most certainly expired. It is now open season, most likely.
Here is the rating for players involved in the game.
Rating: 1 - 10 scale. 6 = Average.
Francis UZOHO (23) --5.0 -- His performance today may be the worst ever seen by a Nigerian goalie in a competitive international. He was on vacation most of the day but any modicum of a Seychelles' opportunity must have sent Nigerian fans near a heart attack. Eventually, Seychelles' goal was a harmless free kick that the Nigerian defenders could have taken care of but Uzoho intervened and entirely missed the ball to allow a surprised Seychelles' forward to sore the easiest of goals into an empty net.
Abdullahi SHEHU (12) -- 6.0 -- He did not seem quite comfortable. He gave up unnecessary free kicks when challenged but he did make effort going forward.
William EKONG (5) -- 6.4 -- Not much pressure today but helped with some long balls and had a weak header easily saved by the goalkeeper in the opening half.
Kenneth OMERUO (22) --6.4 -- Omeruo did not do much except mimic Ekong with the long passes when the short passes were not opening up the channels.
Jamilu COLLINS (3) -- 6.5 -- He was very active down the left joining the attack. Eventually, assisted in Onyekuru's goal with a long lofted pass from the left.
Wilfred NDIDI (4) --7.5 -- Perhaps, Nigeria's best player with effort and thought. But this was against Seychelles!
Oghenekaro ETEBO (8) --7.0 -- Etebo did put in the effort and had several attempts at goal before he was taken off.
Ahmed MUSA (cpt) (7) -- 6.8 -- Musa put in maximum effort against a massed defense but some of his final passes were not good enough but still he was one of the better players on the Nigerian side.
Alex IWOBI (18) -- 6.2-- Alex seems to have difficulty protecting the ball. He turned it over several times today before he eventually went off.
Henry ONYEKURU (11) --7.0 -- Henry started today and was one of the few shining lights on this team. His goal in the second half was a deserved result from a good afternoon.
Jude IGHALO (9) -- 5.5 -- A step slow. Had a very poor touch early in the game with the goalkeeper at his mercy. Yes, he continued his scoring streak but his overall performance was nothing to celebrate.
Moses SIMON (15) -- X -- He was on the field for just a few minutes and scored but not enough minutes to warrant a rating.
Paul ONUACHU (10) -- 5.8-- There was nothing remarkable about Onuachu's play. He needs to do more before anyone would consider him as likely to make the AFCON squad.
Semi AJAYI (13) -- 5.3 -- Semi had an awful few minutes on the field. Gave up unnecessary fouls and then turned the ball over when a pass was much easier. Nothing much else to state about his play.