Coach Gernot Rohr: Thoughts on the game against Seychelles

Gernot Rohr (www.thenff.com)

Even though Nigeria have topped the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying Group E and therefore earned a spot in the 2019 AFCON in Cameroon, there is still one more round to be played which will decide the winner of the group and the second placed team.

While the Super Eagles are going to Cameroon, they can still finish the group stage in 2nd place. If they somehow manage to slip up against Seychelles, like South Africa did earlier in the qualifying, they might indeed finish second. And it’s yet to be decided who will join them in Cameroon, with Libya and South Africa to fight it out in Round 6.

With a few players injured or recovering from injury, Rohr will look to test some new players, especially at positions which he thinks needs improvement. He will look at new goalkeepers and maybe extra forwards.

Francis Uzoho, the regular Super Eagles goalkeeper is injured right now but has also been known to make mistakes. The Number two goalkeeper has struggled to find game time in his club while the third keeper is too inexperienced. In order to contest the AFCON 2019 title, Nigeria will have to shore up the position in front of the net which will also give added confidence to his defensive players.

Gernot Rohr (www.thenff.com)

Gernot Rohr (www.thenff.com)

The defensive line-up has been good for Nigeria and there is an abundance of active players Coach Rohr can choose from in the centre back and left and right back positions.

The midfielders have been inconsistent even though interim team captain Ahmed Musa has shown that he can lead the team through important matches. Since the retirement of Victor Moses and the absence of John Obi Mikel, Rohr has had a question about the team’s performance while holding the ball in midfield and preventing any incursions towards the goal.

But he has got a few talented players in Samuel Kalu and Alex Iwobi who are creative and can run with the ball.

Odion Ighalo has exploded for the Super Eagles in the doubleheader against Libya with four goals but was injured in the second match. Coach Rohr needs a couple of more strikers who are sure enough in front of goal and who can play together with Ighalo. So far, Isaac Success Ajayi has shown potential but is yet to score. Kelechi Iheanacho is not in good form and has started from the bench for Leicester in the last few matches. The youngster Samuel Chukwueze, who has improved immensely this season might be a possibility.

We will know more once the coach announces the team ahead of the match in March.

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