Super Eagles manager, Gernot Rohr is expected to play a strong team against Benin Republic with no surprises in the crucial Africa Cup of Nation (AFCON) qualifiers.
The match which kickoff at 5pm local time will see the three-time African champions seek to qualify for the AFCON but it won’t be an easy fixture as the Squirrels are yet to lose at home since 2013.
Interestingly, Nigeria battled to a 2-1 home win over Benin Republic last time both sides faced each other in November, 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic ensured for a long break in the qualifiers.
AllBallerZone (ABZ), probes into the mind of German tactician, Gernot Rohr and give his probable starting line-up against Nigeria’s West African neighbours when they eventually face-off at Porto Novo this evening.
Already, Rohr has confirmed Sparta Rotherham’s Maduka Okoye as Super Eagles number 1 ahead of 2018 World Cup star Francis Uzoho, who was also part of Nigeria’s U-17 World Cup winning squad in 2015.
‘No. 1 is Maduka,” Rohr told ESPN. “These decisions, I take them with [goalkeeper coach Alloy Agu] because he is a specialist for goalkeeper training….’
FC Porto’s Zaidu Sanusi should get the nod over Jamiu Collins at left-back and Chidozie Awaziem is likely to beat competition from Ola Aina, Tyronne Ebuehi and Shehu Abdullahi.
The center back should be straightforward with Leon Balogun and William Ekong but Oghenekaro Etebo is expected to miss out to Joe Aribo who will partner Leicester City’s defensive midfielder Wilfred Ndidi while Alex Iwobi and Samuel Chukwueze will play on the left and right wings respectively.
Inform Kelechi Iheanacho with 12 goals and 5 assists in all competitions for the Foxes this season will fill the no.8/10 role for the Super Eagles while Napoli’s most expensive player Victor Osimhem is expected to be selected ahead Nigeria’s most in-form striker in Europe, Paul Onuachu. The 26-year-old IMO State born lad has scored 27goals for Genk this season but will have to make do on the Eagles bench for the match against the Squirrels. This means that there will not be any place for the homebased lads invited for the tie.
Super Eagles Probable XI: Maduka Okoye, Chidozie Awaziem, Leon Balogun, William Ekong, Zaidu Sanusi, Wilfred Ndidi, Joe Aribo, Alex Iwobi, Samuel Chukwueze, Kelechi Iheanacho, Victor Osimhen.
Nigeria are currently top of the Group L log with eight points, one ahead of Benin Republic and five more than third-placed Sierra Leone while Lesotho sit bottom with just two points.