The much awaited list of players to prosecute Nigeria's friendly matches in October has been released. It included several established players and some notable omissions (some of those excluded are currently in the standby list).
With the number of decent players ripe and available for coach to pick from, one thing that will now be a firm feature when Super Eagles lists are released is the dropping of very good players. Imagine those on standby and then many others who could have made the list on a good day. It is testament to the quality and quantity open to Nigeria at this time. After all, the coach can only pick 23 players out of the almost 100s becoming available on a daily basis. The released list is very good and, before the Covid-19 induced halt to international football, Gernot Rohr had started moulding his boys into a cohesive unit. This is the most important element. No matter how good the players are, the whole still has to be greater than the sum of the individual parts. And Rohr appears to be crafting a well oiled outfit as evidenced in the remarkable results against Ukraine and Brazil in 2019 friendlies.
My only worry now is that the multiple options open to him across the pitch will not make him think of changing his tactics only to accommodate players.
Will he go for 3 at the back or 2 in front solely to keep players happy rather than a result of tactical considerations (for example)?
But, these are indeed fun times to be a Super Eagles supporter when you think of the clubs and leagues which our players are situated. Rohr’s wards will take on the Elephants on 9th October and four days later, will engage the Carthage Eagles. Both games have been arranged by the Nigeria Football Federation to prepare the Eagles for the next rounds of 2022 AFCON qualifiers, home and away against Sierra Leone in November. THE FULL LIST
Goalkeepers: Dele Alampasu (FK Ventspils, Latvia); Matthew Yakubu (SKF Sered, Slovakia); Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, The Netherlands) Defenders: Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Leon Balogun (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Chidozie Awaziem (FC Boavista, Portugal); William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy); Olaoluwa Aina (Fulham FC, England); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto, Portugal) Midfielders: Mikel Agu (Vitoria Guimaraes, Portugal); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Frank Onyeka (FC Midtjylland, Denmark); Oghenekaro Etebo (Galatasary SK, Turkey); Samson Tijani (TSV Hartberg, Austria) Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nassr, Saudi Arabia); Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Victor Osimhen (SSC Napoli, Italy); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain); Cyril Dessers (KRC Genk, Belgium); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux, France); Chidera Ejuke (CSKA Moscow, Russia)
Standby: Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor, Turkey); Ramon Azeez (Granada CF, Spain); Joshua Maja (Girondins Bordeaux, France); Henry Onyekuru (AS Monaco, France); Tyronne Ebuehi (FC Twente, Netherlands)
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