Wilfred Ndidi’s late yellow card against Libya in Sfax was the primary awful sign about the Super Eagles’ midfield in front of their outing to Johannesburg in November.
The card ruled ndidi out of the essential Africa Cup of Nations qualifier away to South Africa. Be that as it may, after hard tackling Ndidi’s suspension soaked in, regardless it seemed like Nigeria had no reason to lose rest over it.
They hoped to have a substantial pool of midfielders to call upon, with eminent stars recovering from injury and full fitness, in principle. There shouldn’t have been any reason for a caution. Be that as it may, the 23-man squad coach Gernot Rohr discharged ahead of the against Bafana would recommend something else.
The German, who in the past adhered to welcome no other than six midfielders, diminished that number to four for the twofold header against Libya in October and further made it a stride around calling up just three players for matchday five in under three weeks.
The midfield players selected for the travel are, John Ogu, Stoke City’s Oghenekaro Etebo, and Mikel Agu. The last mentioned, who was cut from the 2018 FIFA World Cup squad on the eve of the competition, makes an arrival to the group for the first time in five months.
Captain John Obi Mikel missed a call-up in 3 consecutive months, regardless of coming back to fitness, having skirted the previous national group assignments because of injury.
Mikel featured for Tianjin TEDA in their last two matches against Shandong Luneng and Shanghai Shenhua in the Chinese Super League and got against the last at the end of the week, yet stays unavailable by his decision.
Ogenyi Onazi, another accomplished individual of the team, was shockingly rejected, his first international reprimand in six years, in spite of making a full recuperation from injury, as he played approximately 135 minutes in Trabzonspor’s last two league games in Turkey.
It shows Ogu as an immediate swap for Ndidi, and Etebo is the favored decisions to fill the midfield openings, yet should the current form of the Stoke number eight, who hasn’t been recorded in the Potters’ last three matchday squads, be of concern?
While the team selection will be clear for Rohr, his worry ought to be his substitutes, in case of injury, poor performance, fatigue or the need for strategic fortification.
A choice to list two defenders, four forwards and not one midfielder on the reserve could be a problem, in the occasion if any of the trios haul out.
Another alternative, Abdullahi Shehu, has neglected to recover from injury from inside the opening 20 minutes against Libya in Uyo. So he passes up a great opportunity notwithstanding the suspended Ndidi, which additionally leaves the team thin in the midfield.
Considering the Group E experience is an away diversion, and a point is likely adequate for pioneers Nigeria to seal capability to Cameroon one year from now, it appears to be odd Rohr chosen nine advances when he could have held one of those openings for a midfielder.
In an amusement where Nigeria could play the last 30 minutes pursuing down the ball, shutting spaces, and being put under significant weight in midfield, both of Anderson Esiti or Ifeanyi Matthew ought to have been ideal for the activity.
Esiti, whose last Nigeria trip was against Zambia in Ndola in 2016, is strong and fit like a tank and is step by step returning to his best shape, and named in Gent’s line-up for their last two games.
In the event that Esiti is bit by bit discovering his feet, at that point the invert is the situation for Lillestrom’s Matthew, who is very nearly having an ideal appearance league record for a second progressive Norwegian season. The box-to-box midfielder, who was a member of the Golden Eaglets class of 2013, has played in every one of the 27 league games this term, scoring four goals.
In a game where Nigeria could play the final 30 minutes chasing down the ball, closing spaces, and being put under considerable pressure in midfield, either of Anderson Esiti or Ifeanyi Matthew should have been perfect for the job.
After surviving a late Libyan onslaught in Sfax, largely due to the midfield collapsing, a repeat performance at the FNB Stadium could have dire consequences. Rohr has to produce his best management game to get Nigeria over the line with his limited midfield numbers.