Nigeria 2018 World Cup Squad: Winners and Losers
With just a matter of weeks now remaining until the 2018 FIFA World Cup gets underway in Russia, Nigeria are just one of a whole host of nations preparing for their campaign. German boss Gernot Rohr undoubtedly now has a strong idea of who will be included in his 23-man playing squad, with not many surprises expected by those in the know.
Of course, with domestic action still taking place across Europe, there is still time for players to pick up what would be hugely frustrating injuries, however the African giants are expected to name a squad full of both skill and athleticism. Let’s take a look at some of Nigeria’s most recent results, as well as those who are certain to be on the plane to Russia, barring any last-minute complications.
With Nigeria having collected two wins from their three recent friendly matches, coming against Argentina and Poland, manager Rohr is set to name a whole host of players playing for major European clubs. Former Chelsea man Jon-Obi Mikel will Captain the Super Eagles in Russia, while English Premier League stars such as Alex Iwobi, Victor Moses, Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho will all make the trip.
Elsewhere, having played key roles in ensuring that Nigeria reach the Finals, Moses Simon, William Troost-Ekong, Odion Ighalo and goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa will all battle for starting births. Meanwhile, despite having struggled for consistency since his return to Russian side CSKA Moscow, Ahmed Musa is another inclusion, with his pace making him a likely substitute.
Should Rohr show loyalty to those who helped Nigeria qualify for the Finals in Russia, then there are certain players who should feel confident of earning a place in his 23-man squad. The likes of Brian Idowu, Joel Obi and Junior Ajayi all featured during qualifying and recent friendly clashes, while on-loan Chelsea youngster Ola Aina is a likely addition due to his versatility. Elsewhere, players including Uche Agbo, John Ogu, Dele Alampasu and Tyronne Ebuehi may need to end the season strongly in order to earn their respective place.
In Danger of Missing Out
Everton attacker Henry Onyekuru impressed while on loan at Belgian side Anderlecht during the first half of the season, however the youngster picked up a serious knee injury back in December, meaning that he is unlikely to return to full fitness in time to earn a place on the plane to Russia. Elsewhere, the likes of Gabriel Ockechukwu, Stephen Eze, Kelechi Nwakali and Anderson Isiti are all currently on the fringes of the squad, with only further injuries allowing for their inclusion.
Our Predicted Nigerian 23-Man Squad
Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Francis Uzoho, Daniel Akpeyi;
Leon Balogun, William Troost-Ekong, Shehu Abdullahi, Kenneth Omeruo, Uche Agbo, Elderson Echiejile, Tyronne Ebuehi, Ola Aina
Jon-Obi Mikel, Wilfred Ndidi, Ogenyi Onazi, Oghenekaro Etebo, John Ogu, Mikel Agu
Odion Ighalo, Kelechi Iheanacho, Victor Moses, Ahmed Musa, Moses Simon, Alex Iwobi