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Four players dropped from Nigeria squad

With just two weeks remaining until the 2018 FIFA World Cup officially gets underway, many nations who are competing at the tournament have begun thinning out their squads. Some players will experience heartbreak, whereas others will realise the dream of a lifetime as they prepare to board the plane to Russia. The Nigerian national team is no different, and in the last twenty-four hours, they’ve dropped four players from the squad in preparation for their warm-up game against England. As opposed to narrowing the squad from 30 men to 23 in one go, it seems as if boss Gernot Rohr is taking a more gradual approach in the aftermath of their 1-1 draw against DR Congo. Many fans are looking to Nigeria as Africa’s best hope of going far in this tournament, but given the parade of issues they’ve encountered in the last few weeks, some people are starting to lose confidence before the first ball has even been kicked. 

Junior Lokosa, Uche Agbo, Stephen Eze and Dele Ajiboye have all been informed that their services will not be required at the World Cup. While it seems harsh to remove players from the squad at this late stage, it’s a necessary evil given that the manager needs to see how well these players are able to gel and step up to the plate. Playing at a World Cup is no joke, and the pressure associated with that is enough to stress out even the calmest of footballers. Moses Simon had already been ruled out through injury, and he’s set to undergo further testing whilst The Super Eagles are in London for their friendly against England.

Meanwhile, there is still one or two more men to be dropped from the squad before the June 2nd deadline, and there’s already a great deal of speculation regarding who will wind up being on the chopping block. Whoever it may be, the important thing for the Nigerians at this stage will be for them to focus on the task at hand. The game at Wembley will serve as a great opportunity for them to test themselves against a bigger side, meaning that they can also experiment with different players throughout the course of the game. In a group as unpredictable as theirs (Argentina, Iceland & Croatia), they’ll need to ensure they test some things out as there are bound to be some end-to-end encounters that they’ll have to deal with.

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