It's not my formation — Finidi defends Iheanacho's performance against South Africa

Coach Finidi George and Kelechi Iheanacho of Nigeria during a press conference || Image credit: Imago

It's not my formation — Finidi defends Iheanacho's performance against South Africa

Faruq Ibrahim 14:21 - 10.06.2024

Super Eagles coach Finidi George defended his deployment of Kelechi Iheanacho during the draw against South Africa.

Super Eagles head coach Finidi George has come to the defence of veteran striker Kelechi Iheanacho following his uninspiring performance against South Africa. He also absolved his set-up on the day of being a contributing factor in the disappointing showing of the former Leicester City ace. 

Iheanacho inadequate against South Africa 

Kelechi started on the right side of a 4-4-2 in the 1-1 draw against South Africa, with the license to drift inside and deal damage; however, his interpretation of what was required from him in the role was under par. 

He only managed 26 touches, did not complete a dribble, nor did he fire a single shot in anger, all of which earned him a rating of “5/10” from Pulse Sports after the match.

He was eventually substituted for Samuel Chukwueze in the 67th minute, and the AC Milan winger who was more suited to the wider starting position livened up the Super Eagles' play and earned himself a rating of “7/10” in only 23 minutes of regular time. 

Kelechi Iheanacho || Imago
Kelechi Iheanacho || Imago

What Finidi George said 

The Super Eagles gaffer disagrees with the suggestion that Iheanacho was not suited to the role he deployed him at, as he claimed that it was a mere off day for the former Manchester City man, who was adept at -playing different positions. 

“Kelechi has played that position many times and performed well, so it’s not about tactics or the system,” Finidi said, per Brilla FM

“I think he didn’t come to the party as quickly as others, which limited his impact. Players can have bad days; it doesn’t mean the system or formation is flawed. He’ll bounce back, so I’m not worried.”

It remains to be seen if Finidi will insist on starting Iheanacho in the match against Benin Republic later today, given the remarkable performance Chukwueze put up following his introduction.

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