There is no such thing as a ‘perfect list’, that in itself is a myth. However, coaches are required to come up with a list of players who fit into their system at all times.
The NFF appear pressurized since the 2-0 defeat to South Africa nearly cost Nigeria a chance of progressing to AFCON 2019, but that is no longer a concern now; CAF voted for an increased AFCON. That means Nigeria no longer need to finish Top to qualify for any AFCON; finishing second-best is not a difficult ask.
Let’s look at the list now, shall we?
Midfield and Attack
John Mikel Obi and Victor Moses lead a star studded 23-man Super Eagles against the reigning African Champions for a Russia 2018 World Cup Qualifying clash.
Mikel hasn’t played in four months, and that should be a concern but its not. The Eagles need him to calm their nerves. Remember how many months he didn’t make Chelsea’s team last year? Yet he was in the right place to score that goal against Algeria that gave Nigeria a 2-0 lead.
— The NFF 🇳🇬 (@thenff) November 13, 2016
Admittedly, he was training but not getting games, things are different now, but as we all realized nearly three months ago against South Africa, he can calm the waves of the sea. Hopefully that can calm the cynic.
Moses has been a mainstay for Chelsea over the past 12 months, an indisputable starter at Chelsea shouldn’t be struggling to get back in the squad.
Errr…hopefully he won’t pick up an injury this weekend, eh? Hopefully.
Perhaps, we can expect another cracking game from Alex Iwobi? The presence of Mikel and Moses has always been to his advantage and he can redeem himself for his far from impressive showing in Uyo last time out.
There is also room back into the team for the in-form Odion Ighalo who has scored 8 goals in his last 11 games in the Chinese Super League and a debut call-up for Hapoel Be’er Sheva forward, Anthony Nwakaeme who scored this goal against Maribor last week and this too, last month.
Anthony has been knocking for a while, now we have a striker who can score from outside the box too. That’s a plus.
There are no high profile replacements for Vincent Enyeama and Carl Ikeme as Gernot Rohr decides to stick with the familiar back-up faces in the goalkeeping department.
So its Daniel Akpeyi – who was in goal when Nigeria beat Algeria 3-1 last November – and Ikechukwu Ezenwa who has been undisputable for the CHAN eagles. Dele Alampasu is getting games now, and he has been around the team for long. He’s still one for the future.
Quite surprisingly though, Gernot Rohr left the team a little bit unbalanced at the back by inviting three right backs and just one left back for the clash.
It is understandable that Tyronne Ebuehi is seen as ample back-up to Shehu Abdullahi. But if the coach doesn’t think Tyronne can start games now, when will he start a game?
We are in a hurry to cap Ola Aina in a competitive game, could this be the reason why he’s been invited for this game? Or does the coach see him as another ample back-up for Elderson Echiejile because he can equally feature from that position? Hopefully, the latter is the case.