Ahead of tomorrow’s crucial game between Nigeria and Qatar, football analyst Ademetan Abayomi has crawled into the tactical plans of Paul Aigbogun and predicted players the gaffer will be fielding on Friday evening.
Just one day ahead of Nigeria’s eagerly-anticipated game, so many questions are being raised regarding the best eleven Aigbogun should be starting with.
Two-time runners up Nigeria will go all out for the three points when they take to the pitch of the 15,300-capacity Tychy Stadium against Qatar in the opening match of Group D of the 2019 FIFA U20 World Cup, reports Futbalgalore.com.
Friday’s game kicks off at 5pm Nigeria time. The second match of Group D, between Ukraine and USA, will begin at 7.30pm Nigeria time.
While there are players almost guaranteed a starting berth like keeper Detan Ogundare, attacking duo Jerome Akor and Success Makanjuola, the backline still remains a mystery to predict for many fans and pundits alike.
The only boy almost certain about his position at the heart of defense is stalwart Valentine Ozormwafor, but his partner is the talking point.
Should it be Igoh Ogbu, natural midfielder Maxwell Effiom or first-choice right-back Jamil Muhammad?
At left back, captain Ikouwem Utin will automatically start. The Enyimba starlet has higher defensive abilities, decent pace and is efficient in the final third.
While on the other flank, Aliu Salawudeen has been in steady form, yet the defense-minded Jamil Muhammad is still odds-on for the right-back spot.
Ogbu could be the ideal man to start beside Ozornwafor, given the former’s pace an attribute that the latter lacks in addition to the understanding between both center-halves.
In midfield, three lads deployed in that area would be the excellent formula to contain the presence of the mobile Qataris.
Tackling Qatar’s midfield threat by three boys is a must; Nnamdi Ofoborh and Ayotomiwa Dele-Bashiru and Aniekeme Okon, with only the latter allowed to advance forward to benefit from his astute through passes.
Finally, the attacking department, with so many speculating that Aigbogun will be fielding a center-forward as he used to do at the beginning of his stint at the helm.
The in-form Jerome Akor and Makanjuola are indispensable for Nigeria’s attack, not just for their consistency and recent scintillating displays with the Flying Eagles, but more significantly, for the chemistry between the talented duo.
The harmonious pair was key in settling games for the Flying Eagles in friendlies. This is a testament of how such a partnership can torment their opponents through Makanjuola’s silky defense-splitting passes and Akor’s blistering pace.
But the question remains who will be the remaining attacking man?
So many are calling for the shining Kingsley Michael who is a quality player on his day.
The Bulldozer….. with his physicality and ability to dismantle defenses is a force to be reckoned with.
However, another opinion would favour a third deep-lying forward like Henry Offia, Tijani Mohammed or Chinonso Emeka.
In this case, such a quick and free-moving frontline will be so difficult to mark or even anticipate.
All in all, Aigbogun shouldn’t be preoccupied by playing cautiously at the Tychy Stadium, as he might not get a better chance to attack a team that tends to commit errors at the back.