Jose Peseiro’s Surest Formula To Win 2024 AFCON In Cote D’ Voire Is 5-3-2 Playing Style


There is no doubt that the Super Eagles squad is tipped among the favourites to lift the 2024 Total Energy African Cup of Nations in Cote D’Ivoire but this can only materialize if Coach Jose Peseiro gets the balance of his team right.

The weakness and strength of the current team is well documented and the biggest challenge for Peseiro is how to maximise the strength and minimise the weaknesses of the Squad.

The Current squad does not have enough experienced and physical spine in the middle of the park since the likes of John Obi Mikel , Ogenzi Onazi exited the National team.

And to make matter worse the only player who is close to the profile of Mikel is Wilfred Ndidi but unfortunately he is at the twilight of his National team career and currently out injured.

The Eagles midfield presently boast of exciting and modest players like Alex Iwobi, Joe Aribo, Frank Onyeka, Alhassan Yusuf and Raphael Onyedika.

As good as these players are in their own rights, they are yet at that top level where we can boast of their consistent performance for both club and country.

Infact the likes of Alhassan Yusuf of Antwerp in Belgium and Raphael Onyedika are both inexperienced in the national team which will be a factor trusting them at the Nations.

The most experienced of them all is Alex Iwobi who is having a decent season with Fulham but Iwobi is not a creative midfielder and can’t be trusted in such role.

He is more of a one touch passing midfielder who is usually good in getting the midfield moving because of his sleak one touch passing qualities.

Joe Aribo is also another exciting midfielder whose qualities are limited in the midfield. He loves to get inside the box playing more of a number eight but also lacks creative abilities and to make matter worse lacks any form of physicality needed when playing African football.

He is not the kind of player that will put himself in the firing line with his body. He does not even go for aerial balls so he can’t even win duels and these are attributes which are needed to win games in African football.

And from the way coach Jose Peseiro has been setting up his team since he got the Eagles job , it’s obvious the 4-3-3 formation he has been using can’t work for the current squad.

The formation easily exposes the team’s weakness in the middle of park and that has been the reason why the Eagles have been struggling in recent games.

He also adopted the same formation in the friendly game against Guinea in Abu Dhabi on Monday and the team lost 2-0.

Peseiro must understand that the AFCON is one hundred percent African football and he must adopt a sacrificial style if he wants to win the trophy rather than a style to please the individual players because you want to make them happy.

The 5-3-2 formation is his best bet in Ivory Coast ; Playing with three centre-backs , two wing backs, three hardworking midfielders and two strikers.

This formation will make the Eagles very hard to beat , very hard to play and very hard to score.

And because of the physical nature of African football, this formation will give the team the needed security from the back especially now that there are still alot of trust issues with the Goalkeeping department and abit of the backline.

Though this formation will not make the Super Eagles play any flamboyant and Champaign football but they will be very effect and will get the job done.

This is the reason why coaches like Antonio Conte believes so much in this system and won the Premier League with it at Chelsea in his first season.

Arteta also adopted this conservative formation in his first Arsenal season and used it to win the FA Cup beating the likes of Manchester city in the Semi final and Chelsea in the final.

So because this is a tournament based competition, the Eagles cannot afford to start slow, therefore a rigid and conservative approach is very important to avoid any early disappointment.

A look at how Peseiro can deplore the 5-3-2 formation below will give a clear image of how the Eagles can be very unplayable in Cote D’Ivoire.

Francis Uzoho in Goal while Troost Ekong in the middle of the three centre backs of Semi Ajayi and Calvin Bassey.

Bright Osayi of Fenerbache as right wing-back while Moses Simon will occupy the left sided wing-back.

And adopting Simon as the left sided wing back will be the team’s joker. Simon has the quality and engine to do that job and he has even played that role before with his french club Nantes.

This was how Antonio Conte surprisingly converted Victor Moses to a wing back and he played the role so well.

In the middle, Peseiro can adopt a robust 3-man midfield of Frank Onyeka of Brentford, Alhassan Yusuf of Antwerp and Alex Iwobi. Both Onyeka and Yusuf are box to box with a very tenacious engine while Iwobi will be the most advanced ball player in a diamond shape.

And in attack , the new king of African football Victor Osimhen will lead a two man frontline.

Unfortunately Victor Boniface would have been the perfect partner to Osimhen, a front two that would have caused big fear in any team playing Nigeria.

However a Sadiq Umar or Kelechi Iheanacho can still be very effective striking partner with Osimhen upfront.

Written By Michael Obasi

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