Next week, Gernot Rohr, with the approval of the Nigeria Football Federation, will release a strong squad for opening round of matches of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Big names like Ahmed Musa, Victor Osimhen, Kelechi Iheanacho, Wilfred Ndidi, Paul Onuachu, William Troost-Ekong and Samuel Chukwueze are expected to be listed by the Franco-German tactician.

Ahead of the game against Liberia on August 29 and Cape Verde on September 4, the former Burkina Faso boss wouldn’t take chances.

He is certainly not without options as he looks to secure qualification for next year’s Mundial.

Ademetan Abayomi puts pen to paper to draft what might be close to the best possible XI from the squad selected.

For starters, the use of the 4-4-2 formation would be the best choice for the two opening matches. This would need a goalkeeper, four defenders, two midfielders, two wingers and two centre forwards.

The lineup should of course have a perfect blend of experience and potential to maximize results.

The goalkeeper selected is Sparta Rotherdam’s Maduka Okoye. The former Fortuna Düsseldorf man is expected to be behind the sticks for the two matches.

The full backs is a tough one as all have made good individual cases to start. However, the writer has gone with Zaidu Sanusi on the left and Ola Aina on the right.

William Troost-Ekong and Leon Balogun get the nod for the centre back positions. The duo complement each other when paired.

In central midfield, we have gone for Wilfred Ndidi and Oghenekaro Etebo. Ndidi provides solidity and on occasion can link defense to attack.

Etebo, as he has constantly shown with Watford this pre season, can control the tempo and drive forward when the opportunity arises.

Samuel Chukwueze and Alex Iwobi were selected as the wingers. Samu has been a bright light for Villarreal.

Iwobi has also shone for Everton during preparations for 2021/21 season.

In attack, Kelechi Iheanacho and Victor Osimhen are the deserved choices.

In reality, Rohr will certainly have other ideas when it comes to selection of personnel and tactics.

Whatever choice he makes, it should hopefully bring dividends.


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