Nigeria Super Eagles tactics, style of play & best formation explained

Nigeria Super Eagles tactics, style of play & best formation explained

May 15, 2021 0 By Ibiye Ambille

The Nigeria Super Eagles tactics, style of play and the best formation explained with tips on how to improve the general team play.


The Nigerian Super Eagles style of play has been up for debate by some national team followers in the past couple of years.


The team’s tactics and best formation has consistently changed with the introduction of new managers over time.


The Super Eagles are popularly known as the men’s national football team which represents Nigeria at international senior football Competitions be it CAF organized or FIFA organized games as well invitation games.


The team shot itself to the limelight in the late 80s to the early 90s and now in the modern era of football.


However, what has become the major problem the national team has faced is a proper or prefered style of play that runs through the entire team.


Although the team has improved quite well recently, what still bothers the minds of many is the uninspiring style of play that has been in use by the National team handlers lately.


But what is the Super Eagles best formation?


Nigeria Super Eagles style of play in 2021 explained


Over the years, the long balls system had been the most preferred style of play.


However, since the era of German tactician Gernot Rohr, there have been major improvements in the team.


Coach of the side Gernot Rohr had been able to enforce discipline in the team, though the Super Eagles setup still lacks the cutting edge and the final third decision-making abilities.

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In the last couple of games, Coach Gernot Rohr had employed the 4-2-3-1 formation which worked well most especially in the friendly game against Brazil which ended 1-1.


The problems faced by the Nigerian Super Eagles


– Poor goal-scoring abilities: The team is unable to score too many goals in the most important games.


Although this has gradually improved with the advent of more prolific attackers including Victor Osimhen, Kelechi Iheanacho, Moses Simon, Henry Onyekuru etc.


– Understanding performance against smaller teams: Super Eagles always turn out poor whenever they take on smaller teams on the African continent.


Although there are no Minos in African Football anymore, the need to grind out impressive results is the most important aspect of the team.


Some national team followers are always afraid whenever the team faces smaller opposition.


I could remember Nigerians making calculations as to how the country can qualify for major tournaments during the qualifiers.


However, this has improved to a certain level.


– Lack of good possession in the midfield: Controlling the midfield had always been a major problem for the team years ago and is still noticed up till now.


Improvements on the side of Wilfred Ndidi had been the major spotlight.


The Leicester City man needs quality partners in the midfield that would help the team play effectively.

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In the past, Ogenyi Onazi and John Obi Mikel used to create a more balanced middle for the team.


But the exit of these players had left the working strength in the hands of Ndidi who is currently ranked as one of the best in the Premier League.


The perfect Super Eagles style of play and the best Super Eagles formation that would work effectively


3-5-2 and 4-2-3-1 would be the ideal best formation for the Nigerian Super Eagles in the long run.


At least, this will create stability at the back most especially in the midfield spreading to the flanks and down to the Forwards.

See the super eagles complete squad for more details about the team


Explained: Nigeria Super Eagles style of play and the need for a change


The team has been known for its slow start and approach to games, unlike European countries where fast pace attackers are always ready to hit you on a fast counter.


For years now, the Super Eagles have utilized the pattern of the long ball, through balls that are always targeted at attackers deep in the opponents half.


The Eagles have been known for long balls.


Predominantly, other African nations excluding the northern parts as well as Senegal and Ivory Coast, the rest play a similar style.


How this had affected the team’s performance

During the 2017 AFCON Qualifiers against Egypt in a game played in Kaduna, the eagles were clamped down by a much faster Egyptian side who had fast pace attackers while the Super Eagles relied on long balls.

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The game however meant Nigeria will not join the train to the competition in Gabon that year.


How improvements can be made


The manager of the team needs to devise a technique that would work for the team.


Today, almost every club in the top European football leagues play attacking football which is usually started from the defensive half.


Most modern adopted style of play includes 4-4-2, 4-2-3-1 and 3-5-2. There should be a new game plan that will work perfectly for the club.


Some other ways the Super Eagles can improve includes


Invitation of players on based on current form

The best players should be invited to the senior team regardless of the player’s history.


Players playing regularly

The best way to grind out better results is to invite players who play week in week out for their respective clubs.


The Super Eagles of Nigeria deserves a place at the top echelon of football not just in Africa alone, but on the International stage.


This can be achieved through the invitation of players on merit that are also capable of performing at the highest level.



This article highlights the Nigerian Super Eagles style of play, best formation and ways to improve on the team.

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