The Africa Cup of Nations has been really enjoyable thus far, which is a good sign, given that we’re still in the very early stages of it. Many nations are still trying to find their feet, with a few having not even played a single minute of football at the tournament yet. We aren’t convinced that we’ve seen the eventual champions step out on the pitch up to this point, but even if we’re wrong, it’s exciting to debate about it all.
One step beyond
One nation that tends to receive a lot of attention at the AFCON is Nigeria, and rightly so. Last year at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, they were considered to be Africa’s shining light as the continent continued to pray of a nation making it all the way to the final of the tournament. They wound up falling short of their expectations by quite some distance, leaving many to wonder how they would be able to bounce back just twelve months on.
The answer, in their opening game, was that they did okay. The 2013 champions (and three-time overall champions) aren’t exactly perfect, and they don’t exactly have what you’d call a polished squad. Even with that being the case, though, they will continue to be one of the favourites to lift the trophy: even with some of their supposed star players not really turning up.
Against Burundi in their opening game, one of those names was Alex Iwobi. Gunners fans will obviously be well aware of what Iwobi can and cannot do, and as such, they’ll know that he isn’t exactly the man you’d think to call upon in times of trouble. Of course, we all know that he’s scored a few really vital goals for the club over the last few years, but that doesn’t mean he has any real kind of consistency to speak of.
He’s still young and could develop into a world class player, but right now, that just isn’t happening for him. He is considered to be one of the men that Nigeria can count upon to get the job done in these sorts of games, but he is falling quite far short of expectations up to this point. He’ll probably have quite a few more games in which to rectify that in this tournament, but again, you just never know what to expect.
Do you think Alex Iwobi is overrated, underrated, or neither?