Having won the African Cup earlier this year, Nigeria continued to ease past Ethiopia in the World Cup qualifier. Despite Nigeria’s success, coach Stephen Keshi has been having problems with the Nigerian Football Federation, including not being paid for months and arguments regarding players. In spite of the recent tension throughout the team, the Super Eagles have been working together to boost their confidence for the upcoming sporting event. Nigeria are fully capable of creating a huge impact on this tournament, and the knockout stages will surely prove that.
June 16th: Nigeria-Iran
June 21st: Nigeria-Bosnia and Herzegovina
June 25th: Nigeria-Argentina
Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama, Austin Ejide, Chigozie Abim and Daniel Akpeyi.
Defenders:Elderson Echiejile, , Efe Ambrose, Godfrey Oboabona, Kunle Odunlami, Azubuike Egwuekwe, Kenneth Omeruo, Juwon Oshaniwa, Joseph Yobo.
Midfielders: John Obi Mikel, Ramon Azeez, Ejike Uzoenyi, Ogenyi Onazi, Sunday Mba, Reuben Gabriel, Nosa Igiebor, Joel Obi.
Strikers: Ahmed Musa, Shola Ameobi, Victor Moses, Emmanuel Emenike, Obinna Nsofor, Osaze Odemwingie, Michel Babatunde, Michael Uchebo, Nnamdi Oduamadi, Uche Nwofor.
Ogenyi Onazi: His ability to score goals has not only gotten his team Lazio far, but also strengthened his country.
Emmanuel Emenike: Will offer the perfect amount of pace and power up front.
John Obi Mikel: Will hold down the centre of midfield, playing simple passes which is a much more conservative role that he is playing for the team.
Player to watch: John Obi Mikel
The Chelsea man has improved drastically for his club in the last few seasons and this improvement has played out in international play where he has been the heart and soul of the Nigeria midfield. He is a skilled passer and a touch tackler. He acts like an anchor in the midfield, locking it down and doesn’t let anyone through. These qualities help show the skills of other players around him, which in turn lead the team to success.
Rising Star: Ahmed Musa
The 21 year old who plays for CSKA Moscow has been tremendous in the past couple of years. He’s been phenomenal for his club, already being hunted by European teams for his signature. Shockingly, despite his high degree of success, he’s only 21. This will be his first World Cup with many more to come you have to imagine.
Probable Starting Line-up:
Keshi sets up his team very defensively, and then looks for a counter attack with a strong amount of pace and power. While Nigeria seem to be a well-organized team, they lack playing creative football, which could make it easy for their opponents to glide past them. The Super Eagles have a good chance to advance out of the group stage. I predict Nigeria will have to fight Bosnia and Herzegovina for that 2nd place spot against Argentina, assuming they land 1st place. Their victory will lead them into the round of 16, where their journey will sadly end. This team is not only young and hungry, but also very talented and determined to do their best this summer.