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BY: OLATOYE OLAWALE 


Fidelis Ilechukwu, Coach of Heartland FC has urged Gernot Rohr to retain Paul Ebere Onuachu as lead striker for the Super Eagles in next friendly against Tunisia on Tuesday.

Nigeria lost via a lone goal to AFCON 2019 champions, Algeria's Foxes on Friday night in first in two tune-up games played at the Worthersee Stadion, Klagenfurt in Austria.  
The game which was the fourth between the Super Eagles and the Fennecs in three years, saw the Genk of Belgium lanky striker not speared from the criticisms from pundits and fans over his not too impressive play in the game.


Ilechukwu who was guest on Nigeria Sports Express, a live Sports Programme on Jordan 105.5 FM, Lagos, in his candid comments after the game said: "I didn't expect too much from the game despite it been a top rated clash between two top African teams but one of the positive was it been a good test for the team and off course the players.

" The team had a new midfield set-up made up of players who got to know themselves in one week as there was no 'Midfield General' Wilfred Ndidi and Ogenekaro Etebo.


" Aside that two or three training sessions was not enough for the team to full get it functioning but at the end the scoreline wasn't embarrassing."

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On calls for Onuachu to be dropped to the bench in next game against Tunisia, I feel it's not right.

" Looking at his scorecard this season in Belgium, Onuachu deserves to start for the Super Eagles. He is the league's top marksman with seven goals in same number of matches, so needs our backings.


" We must understand Onuachu started the game on a high pressing mood, won most of the aerial balls but had to hold on to the ball as his strike partners were not to quick to react as they were some meters far from him, so he gassed out and this slowed the team attack. 

" So I would expect Rohr, would not keep him on the bench, doing that would mean I've let the calls from critics change my decision on him rather I would look at the challenges from the game and find solutions to them before the next game against Tunisia."


For Alex Iwobi, he gave his best in the game and the criticism on him was needless. 

" A player in four Premier League matches has not started but came on as a substitute, but did prove himself in the game against Brighton by providing an assist in the 4-2 victory.


" Regardless of the few errors he made against Algeria, he still did well. He needs more playing time to get back the form we all know him to have. So I expect that he would improve in next game against Tunisia on Tuesday."

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