The international break is upon us, and Super Eagles fans are looking forward to it.
Gernot Rohr has picked his squad and the reaction to certain selections were shall we say, lively? Still, the Super Eagles will be looking to qualify for the next Africa Cup of Nations.
Nigeria face games against Benin Republic and Lesotho. But what will happen during this fortnight of international activity? We’ve had a look and come up with five predictions for this international break.
1. Anayo Iwuala to stake his claim
The hype around Anayo Iwuala has been somewhat ridiculous over the last few months as he was thrust into the limelight as a youngster. However Fatai Osho held him back, allowing him to learn the game and develop away from the spotlight.
Then this season he has been, for lack of a better word, unleashed. Anayo has been sensational for Enyimba and has more than warranted his call-up, and with Ahmed Musa heading into this break lacking for fitness the potential for Anayo to start in attack with Samuel Chukwueze either side of Victor Osimhen is quite high.
Wherever he does play, this should be the international break where Anayo marks himself down as an established Nigeria international. The youngster is simply dripping with quality and confidence right now and surely it’s going to transmit itself into excellent showings for Nigeria.
2. Two different formations
With two games against two opponents with varying levels of quality, you can expect to see Rohr tweak things slightly. There might be something like 4-4-2 or 4-3-3.
Rhor doesn’t joke with the 4-3-3 system but then the red form of Kelechi Iheanacho and Paul Onuachu might make him change things.
The thing is with the Super Eagles’ versatility they are more than capable of playing any of these systems and the squad Rohr has selected could switch between the two fairly easily.
What’s certain is that Rohr will use at least two different formations as he tests his squad out.
3. Akpeyi regret
Speaking of testing the squad, Rohr’s decision to put tested and trusted Daniel Akpeyi has the potential to end up looking foolish.
John Noble is untested at international level, while Maduka Okoye has less than 10 international caps.
Francis Uzoho is just getting back to his form after his injury struggle.
Super Eagles fans will be left to lament the fact that they don’t have an experienced Akpeyi.
4. Nigeria’s number 2
Kevin Akpoguma is injured, so two players will vie for his spot. Shehu Abdullahi should be the incumbent given his has the experience of playing for Nigeria, but Tyrone Ebuehi is the man in form having started 12 games for
It’s between Ebuehi and Shehu who gets the jersey. Both are expected to have the chance to impress over the next week or so, which will take their moment?
5. Two wins
Despite all the talking, the long and short of this international break is that Nigeria are going to win all three games. Well, Lesotho is basically a given considering the gulf in standards between the two nations.
Benin Republic will be a big threat with the Squirrels aiming to qualify for AFCON, but their team is still a bit of a work in progress and should really be no match for the Super Eagles in Port Novo.