SUPER Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr appears to have settled for a 3-5-2 formation as his team kicks off its 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Liberia in Lagos with a two-man attack made up of Kelechi Iheanacho and Victor Osimhen tasked with scoring goals.
With Rohr having a full complement of players after Glasgow Rangers midfielder Joe Aribo arrived in camp yesterday, he is likely to field a midfield trio of Wilfred Ndidi, Aribo and the playmaker Alex Iwobi. It is expected that Rohr will go for his preferred central defensive partnership of Leon Balogun and William Ekong, popularly known as the Onyibo Wall.
However, if he is to play a 3-5-2 formation, this will mean inserting either Kenneth Omeruo or Chigozie Awaziem into the back three. Rohr then has to decided no who plays the two wingback positions, which may be tricky as he has been plagued by injuries in this area and will not have his first choices.
For starters, first choice leftback Zaidu Sanusi is nor in camp at all and second choice Jamilu Collins is not fully fit, as he trained alone. Rohr may opt to play Ola Aina on the left and Tyronne Ebuehi on the right with Francis Uzoho widely tipped to return in goal having recently lost the number one spot to Maduka Okoye.
Rohr is said to be particularly keen on playing Osimhen and Iheanacho together upfront as it offers him the choice of having one right-footed and one left-footed striker. Aware of the fact that he will have a much weakened team for Tuesday’s game away to Cape Verde, Mr Rohr knows it is important to win tonight’s game well.
Cape Verde is on the UK’s red list of countries, meaning that whoever travels there must be quarantined for 10 days upon their return and with the English and Scottish seasons now in full flow, up to 11 Nigerians will have to miss the game. Players affected include Alex Iwobi of Everton, Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi of Leicester City, Frank Onyeka of Brentford, the Watford trio of Oghenekaro Etebo, Emmanuel Dennis and William Troost-Ekong, Semi Ajayi of English Championship side West Bromwich Albion and the Glasgow Rangers, trio of Leon Balogun, Joe Aribo and Calvin Bassey.