How Super Eagles may line out against Sierra Leone

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The Super Eagles of Nigeria are on course for another early qualification for a major tournament as it is now the case under coach Gernot Rohr.

The Super Eagles with six points from their first two games in these series are sitting at top of Group L.

The three-time African champions will earn a place at the AFCON finals scheduled for Cameroon if they win on Friday at the new Samuel Ogbemudia stadium, and also get the better of the Leone Stars in Tuesday’s return leg at the Siaka Stevens Stadium in Freetown.

While as much as 24 players are in the pool for selection, here’s the possible line up that could be adopted for Friday’s tie.

Already, the manager himself, at his pre-match conference, has served some hints and going by some other variables, a possible starting line is clearer.

“What we want to do at first is to find again our quality football, our midfielders are back again,” Rohr told reporters at Thursday’s pre-match press conference.

“We have Etebo and Aribo, we still have Alex Iwobi so we can play our passes quickly, few touches, Chukwueze coming in helping, Osimhen in the front, we’ll see if Musa is able to start or Iheanacho is better.

“If one of them is not starting, he’ll finish it, so, we will have good collective work to do, good teamwork and we have only one session for everybody to prepare so we have to be concentrated and we have to be in our spirit, big determination, and commitment more than ever.

“Such a short preparation in the circumstance is not easy for the team but I think they’ll be ready for that.”

Possible starting XI vs Sierra Leone

Goalkeeper

Maduka Okoye: Coming to camp on the back of another spectacular show for his Dutch club is an added boost for the 21-year-old who manned the post in the friendly games against Tunisia and Algeria.

Defenders

Kevin Akpoguma: After switching his allegiance to Nigeria from Germany, the defender is proving to be a worthy addition to the Super Eagles, he is likely to be deployed on the right flank of the defence.

William Troost-Ekong: Apart from his defensive prowess, the new Watford also scores goals and he did just that before hitting the Eagles camp, a place in the heart of the defence is expected for the Vice-Captain.

Leon Balogun: One of the most experienced defenders available, Balogun and Ekong are expected to form their famous ‘Oyinbo Wall’.

Zaidu Sanusi: The flight glitches suffered by Shehu Abdulahi is an additional boost for Zaidu to start at the left side of defence even ahead of Jamilu Collins.

Midfielders:

Oghenekaro Etebo: His service was sorely missed in the friendly games against Tunisia and Algeria and has hinted by Rohr in his pre-match presser the Galatasaray midfield dynamo should be operating in the middle of the pack today.

Joe Aribo: Silk and highly technical, the Rangers star was also sorely missed in the friendly games against Tunisia and he is expected to also provide some creativity for the Eagles from the midfield section.

Alex Iwobi: The Everton midfielder has grown to be an integral part of Rohr’s team and nothing suggests he would lose his starting shirt for Friday’s tie.

Forward:

Samuel Chukwueze: While many will be happy to see an improvement in his final ball decisions, the dazzling runs of the Villarreal forward are capable of cutting open any defence and Rohr will surely need that against the potentially stubborn Leone stars.

Victor Osimhen: The Napoli striker is the leading marksman in this series for the Super Eagle and he would be hoping to add more goals to his tally in Benin and Freetown subsequently.

Ahmed Musa: The club less captain is not guaranteed 90 minutes of action but not certain if he would be called to start the charge or come in much later.

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