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Russia 2018: Nigeria Squad And Team Guide

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Russia 2018: Nigeria Squad And Team Guide 17

After missing out on the past two African Cup Of Nation (AFCON), the Nigerian team was ruled out of qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup by fans, neutrals and pundits alike after being drawn in a tough group which had Algeria, Cameroon, and Zambia.

Fast forward to November 2017, the Super Eagles qualified for the FIFA World Cup starting in Russia on June 14 with a game to spare thus becoming the first African team to qualify despite having 3-points deducted from their 1-1 draw in Algeria for fielding an ineligible player.

Behind the incredible turnaround and breathtaking performances which saw the Eagles beat Algeria 3-1, Cameroon 4-0 and defeat of Zambia home and away in the qualifying round is the Franco-German coach. Gernot Rhor who have built a solid team with a mixture of youthful talents and experienced veterans to turn the team around, looking more like they board a cheap flights to Russia.

An elegant display of swift counter-attacking football in the 4-2 comeback win over Argentina last November in a friendly played in Russia further raised the expectation of local fans and announced the ability of the team to the neutrals as a team to reckon with.

However, a recent string of unimpressive results in their world cup warm up matches has shown that a lot has to be done if the team is to progress from Group D which also houses Argentina, Iceland, and Croatia.

Form Guide

 L   L  D   L  W

After an unbeaten qualifying round and big wins recorded against Argentina (4-2) last November and Poland (1-0) in March, the team has gone four friendly games without a win, drawing once against DR Congo (1-1) losing to Czech (1-0), England (2-1) and Serbia (2-0) with their last win coming against Poland in March.

Nigeria’s World Cup 2018 fixtures

Croatia: Saturday, June 16 (Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad) 8 pm

Iceland: Friday, June 22 (Volgograd Arena, Volgograd) 4 pm

Argentina: Tuesday, June 26 (St Petersburg Stadium, St Petersburg) 7 pm

BASE CAMP

Sanatorium Istochnik, Stavropol Region

Russia 2018: Nigeria Squad And Team Guide 18

STAR PLAYER

John Obi Mikel

Russia 2018: Nigeria Squad And Team Guide 19

This undoubtedly has to be Tianjin Teda‘s, John Mikel Obi. The midfielder’s calming influence and strength in the middle of the park bring balance and some creativity to the team with his absence always proving to big to be filled which also affect the overall team performance. Although the skipper’s former Chelsea teammate, Victor Moses is one to reckon with as well.

RISING STARS

Alex Iwobi

Russia 2018: Nigeria Squad And Team Guide 20

The Arsenal forward has been in fine form in the Green-White-Green jersey, frequently deployed on the wings contrary to his original position in the midfield.  He has however shown to be comfortable irrespective of where he is deployed scoring 5 times in 19 appearances one of which was the winner against Zambia which confirmed Nigeria’s qualification to the world cup and at just 22 years of age he is certainly one for the future.

Kelechi Iheanacho

Russia 2018: Nigeria Squad And Team Guide 21

The former Man City striker is known for his goalscoring abilities, gifted with a good left foot, he has 8 goals in 18 appearances and if he continues with such scoring record, he might break Rashidi Yekini’s goals record for the country.

KEY PLAYER

Russia 2018: Nigeria Squad And Team Guide 22

Chelsea‘s Victor Moses was magnificent in the Blue’s 2016/17 Premier League triumph, with a newfound role at wing-back infusing life once again into his football career.

His performance levels took a sizeable plunge last season, alongside whatever is left of his Chelsea mates, but he remains a key attacking power for Nigeria

STRENGTH

The youthfulness of the squad and pace on the frontline is surely going to trouble opponents.

WEAKNESS

Apart from the inability to deal with set pieces and aerial balls, the unavailability of experienced hands between the goalpost may hinder the team’s chances of going far in the competition. Except for Elderson Echiéjilé, the defensive line features young and raw players. few have big-time experience.

FULL SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna), Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba), Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United).

Defenders: William Troost-Ekong and Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor), Tyronne Ebuehi (Ado Den Haag), Elderson Echiejile (Cercle Brugge KSV), Bryan Idowu (Amkar Perm), Chidozie Awaziem (Nantes FC), Leon Balogun (Brighton), Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa).

Midfielders: Mikel John Obi (Tianjin Teda), Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor), Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City), Oghenekaro Etebo (Las Palmas), John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva), Joel Obi (Torino, Italy).

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow), Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City), Victor Moses (Chelsea), Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal), Simeon Nwankwo (Crotone).

KITS

Russia 2018: Nigeria Squad And Team Guide 23

Fans’ Most Loved Serenade

Russia 2018: Nigeria Squad And Team Guide 24

Sa Ma Sin Wa Lo (generally made interpretation of as ‘Lead Us Ahead )

Want to support your darling Super Eagles in Russia but you’re confused on which travel agency to trust? fret not. At Travelstart Nigeria all the best travel suppliers and specials can be found, compared and booked quickly and safely, using multiple payment methods. You can mix and match departing and return cheap flights on different airlines and book flexi-tickets.

Possible Line-Up

Russia 2018: Nigeria Squad And Team Guide 25

Realistic Aim

Given that they confront seemingly the hardest World Cup group there is the mind-boggling plausibility of an early elimination, but it is conceivable that they can beat Croatia and Iceland to qualify for the round of 16. Much relies upon the first game against Croatia.

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FIFA Congress To Decide Future Host Of FIFA Women’s World Cup™

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FIFA Congress To Decide Future Host Of FIFA Women’s World Cup™ 26

Council assigns FIFA Women’s World Cup™ hosting decision to the football governing body’s Congress; also approves financial statements for 2020 and budget for 2022.

Meeting by video conference, the Council conferred to the Congress the decision to award Women’s World Cup™ hosting rights.

Until now, the decision has been taken by the FIFA Council, most recently in June 2020 when the hosting rights for the 2023 edition were awarded to Australia and New Zealand.

As the football governing body seeks to raise the profile of the women’s game, this represents a significant step to bring the Women’s World Cup in line with the flagship men’s competition.

The proposal will be put forward for a final decision by the 71st FIFA Congress, which will meet virtually (for the second time) on 21 May.

FIFA Congress To Decide Future Host Of FIFA Women’s World Cup™

International match calendar and release of players.

The FIFA Council received a report on the international football situation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bureau of the Council had extended to April 2021 the temporary amendments to the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players regarding the release of players for international duty, and FIFA, the confederations, and its member associations remain in dialogue with national authorities about exemptions from quarantine rules for national team players.

READ ALSO: Mosengo-Omba Is CAF New General Secretary

The FIFA Council recognized that the highest priority in football is the health of the players, and therefore the discussion around the release of players for international duty must maintain this perspective, especially as the public health situation develops around the world.

2020 financials and 2022 budget

The Council also approved the organization’s Annual Report, which contains the financial statements for 2020 and the budget for 2022.

The FIFA Annual Report 2020 focuses on the role played by world football’s governing body in the fight against COVID-19, primarily through the unprecedented COVID-19 Relief Plan, which has made available USD 1.5 billion to support FIFA’s 211 member associations and the confederations through times of financial uncertainty.

The FIFA Annual Report 2020 is available on the official site.

FIFA Arab Cup 2021™

The Council approved the competition regulations for the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, confirming the match schedule and draw procedure for the competition taking place in Qatar from 1 to 18 December this year.

 

 

 

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Fédération Internationale de Football Association.

 

 

 

 

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Paul Onuachu: A Victim Of Tactical Deficiency

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Paul Onuachu: A Victim Of Tactical Deficiency

Ever wondered why Genk forward Paul Onuachu has always been a prolific figure for his club and find it hard to replicate that form with the Super Eagles when invited?

The Nigeria international has been in awesome form for the Blue-White, scoring 26 goals in the Jupiler League this season for Genk, while his scoring prowess at his club has been a contrast to his form with the national team under Gernot Rohr scoring just once in 9 games despite being a top performer at club level.

Ahead of the AFCON qualifier doubleheader against Lesotho and the Benin Republic, Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr named his 23 man list with the inform former Midtjylland forward listed as one of the standby players.

Onuachu’s struggles with the Super Eagles in previous games he featured is quite baffling, considering the excitement that greeted his first appearance with the national team plus the impressive form he’s currently in.

The job of every manager is to find a suitable position or fashion out tactics that would be suitable for their players in other to blend with the team approaches to every match. In Onuachu’s case, he hasn’t been fortunate enough to blend in with Rohr’s tactics. While at club level, Midtjylland plays to his strength.

Paul Onuachu: A Victim Of Tactical Deficiency

However, due to Napoli’s players been restricted from traveling, the Genk forward made it through the backdoor to replace Gernot Rohr’s number one forward Victor Osimhen who hasn’t really hit the ground running with the ‘Partenopei‘, but when with the Eagles, he never fails to deliver.

It’s no doubt that the lanky striker has failed to deliver in his previous games, disappointing the ever-demanding Nigerian football enthusiasts with unforgiving backlashes from the fans. However, his prolific prowess with his club suggests otherwise and consistently makes a case for him to be integrated into the team with a different tactical approach that suits his style.

The era of a target man may have been long gone in football due to the advent of new tactics that have brought about a series of changes in the game. With managers preferring to go with a fast, skillful, or makeshift winger- kind of striker, instead of a target man.

READ ALSO: Super Eagles: 9 Players Who Netted On Debut

Looking at how Paul Onuachu plays with Genk upfront shows he’s one of the best target men in football, despite been perceived by many as a slow and old-fashioned kind of forward. However, John van den Bromm has been able to carve out a tactic that suits him which has been evident with his prolific form irrespective of his style of play.

Onuachu’s Super Eagle future might be on the knife-edge with Gernot Rohr not finding the right tactics that suit the Genk forward, especially with him not been consider as the go-to man despite his blistering runs of form in Belgium.

In recent times Rohr’s philosophy of vibrant attacking football with an emphasis on passing in the final third which requires the expertise of brilliant players to implement such tactics hasn’t really favored him.

Paul Onuachu: A Victim Of Tactical Deficiency

Having a player in the mold of Onuachu gives Rohr another tactical option and an alternative style of play should the initial approach fails to work as expected, but the German tactician hasn’t really taken advantage of what the man could offer with a different opponent.

Onuachu’s presence in the Super Eagles team should be an added advantage in terms of variety when the normal approach of the manager fails. With an in-form striker on the bench, it could prove valuable, but in the former Midtjylland’s case, Gernot Rohr doesn’t seem to see him as a player that has a future with the national team.

Players in the mold of the Nigerian are quite physically imposing as the point man, though they may not offer the team excellent off-the-ball movement in some cases. However, they often find a way to provide an opportunity which the team could utilize when attacking or defending.

Onuachu’s inability to show a good turn of pace and smart footwork may have been one of the deficiencies that are affecting his chances of blending perfectly into the team.

However, the job of a manager is to help players blend in perfectly, and that’s exactly what Gernot Rohr should be doing. Not only for Onuachu but for every other player who are always finding it hard to replicate club form with the National Team.

 

 

 

 

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