Iheanacho v Osimhen; Etebo v Aribo; Balogun v Ajayi - who starts?



After this squad list was released, one question came to my mind: how will Rohr keep members of the squad satisfied? It is perhaps one of the greatest tasks of all. Ex-internationals have often talked about how envy and jealousy had stood in the way of success in teams in the past. These group of players should be grateful. It is an honour to be called up to represent ones fatherland. Many footballers will never even smell national team invitation, let alone be considered for match day squads. The players are all consummate professionals and they will do their reputation good if they continue to act as one regardless of how the match day squads look. It is my prayer that Rohr rotates the squad for the matches in such a way that each player would still feel valued. Key Rivalries: Iheanacho vs Osimhen: Iheanacho was at one time the favoured point-man for Rohr. The youngster lost his way for club and country however, his career is now back on track and he will be hoping to claim back what was once his. Osimhen, for his part, is undoubtedly the darling of Super Eagles fans. Hardly 3 weekends will pass without his performances in France putting joy in the hearts of Super Eagles fans. Going for his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation, one of these lads will have to sit it out on the bench! Which will it be? Balogun vs Ajayi: having been around since the days of late Great Keshi, Leon Balogun would see himself as somewhat of one of the senior members of the squad. His career that seemed buried at Brighton has now woken up in Wigan where this battle played out last weekend against Semi’s West Brom with Balogun prevailing. Will Balogun do a double on Ajayi by relegating the ruthless goal scoring defender to the bench in the Super Eagles? Awaziem vs Kingsley: after Shehu’s injury and Ebuehi’s unavailability, Rohr looked on to Awaziem (a centre defender by trade) to step into the right fullback position. Awaziem hardly disappointed. Now, there is a new kid on the block in Kingsley Ehizibue. The former Dutch youth International has been referred to as another version of Ebuehi: a defender who plays with poise, elegance and panache. If true; if Rohr decides to try Kingsley and he is indeed packed in all the flavours mentioned and more, Rohr might elect to stick with him which will make Awaziem feel like he would have been dropped like a sack of hot potatoes. Etebo vs Aribo: guess who is back? Peter Etebo. The on-loan Stoke midfielder was missing in the last couple of games. In his absence, Joe Aribo has taken his place with performances that have undoubtedly made Super Eagles fans fall head over heels in love with the Rangers man. Etebo (the one time midfield darling of Super Eagles fans in Russia 2 years ago) is now back. Etebo will like, will want, will expect to walk straight back into the starting 11. I think Rohr’s midfield can only accommodate one of the two. Which one? Rohr has truly transformed the Super Eagles into an exciting outfit. You look at any team list and you are gripped at just how quality the team looks across departments. The coaching crew now have to select the best of them in a manner that will not leave some aggrieved.

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