Monday, October 8th, was the scheduled meet-up day for the Super Eagles at the Ibom Hotel & Golf Resort in Uyo. However, due to the political gathering happening in the city, players had trouble getting direct flights which is why the whole team wasn’t complete until Wednesday. Still, the atmosphere ahead of Friday’s game against Libya is good and the training sessions went well.
Coach Gernot Rohr has held two training sessions a day and based on them, we can speculate on the starting eleven. One thing that’s clear is that Arsenal player Alex Iwobi, will play in the free role that John Obi Mikel normally plays in – just behind the striker. Normally, Coach Rohr likes to play him on the wing, but since Samuel Kalu has been playing well in that position along with Moses Simon, Iwobi can now drop into the creative midfielder role to try and influence the match. He has been in excellent form for Arsenal this season, so it’s really a no-brainer.
In-form striker Odion Ighalo is almost certain to start the game against Libya, with Iwobi behind him. Based on various reports from the training sessions and the practice teams, Jamilu Collins will be back at the left back position; he missed the game against Seychelles through injury. William Troost-Ekong will probably be one of the centre-backs with Shehu Abdullahi next to him in the right-back position.
Gernot Rohr has informed everyone that Ahmed Musa will captain the team in this important game for Nigeria. Musa has spoken about the game with respect towards the other team and has reminded his teammates that it will be a tough game, making sure they don’t underestimate their opponents.
The game on Friday will take place at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadiumin Uyo. This will be game one out of the two back to back games these teams will play in the space of four days. Some rain has been forecast for the kick-off, but coach Rohr said that this won’t create a problem as most of the 24 players in the squad play in Europe and only one in Nigeria.
At the moment, Nigeria sit in third place in the group with three points, one point behind South Africa and Libya who have four points each. Super Eagles know they must win this home game, which would be their first home win so far in the AFCON 2019 qualifying, as they lost to South Africa in the opening group match.