Gernot Rohr has hinted that Stoke City star Oghenekaro Etebo will be named in the starting line-up against Seychelles on Friday afternoon and also revealed why he will start Odion Ighalo ahead of in-form striker Paul Onuachu. The German coach said he wants the former Watford striker to finish as the top scorer in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. Heading into the last round of AFCON qualifiers, Ighalo is tied on six goals with JS Kabylie’s Burundi striker Fiston Abdul Razak, while Red Star Belgrade’s El Fardou Ben Nabouhane of Comoros has five goals to his name.
”The individual challenge is that we want to have the best goalscorer in this AFCON qualifiers,” stated Rohr. ”For the moment we have two goalscorers with six goals, one of them is Ighalo, the other one is from Burundi. ”We want Ighalo to finish as the top goalscorer, this could be an answer to all his critics who came after him after the World Cup.”
On Etebo, Rohr said : ‘He did well in the training sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday. And we have good chances to see him start the game, at least 45 minutes. ”Etebo is from the area here, I think he wants to show something good to his family and friends”.
If the Super Eagles final workout is anything to go by, Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi will start as the second holding midfielder in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
FC Midtjylland striker Paul Onuachu is unlikely to make his full debut on Friday afternoon when Nigeria tackle Seychelles in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, manager Gernot Rohr hinted at Thursday’s press conference. The German coach highlighted the qualities of Onuachu as he explained why he handed a maiden call-up to the FC Ebedei product and added that the Super Eagles have no goalscoring problems.
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”We are searching for a striker with his profile. We have the crosses, we have good wingers, so you have the crosses transformed into goals,” said Rohr. ”It is true that we scored 3 goals in Seychelles, seven in the two games against Libya, so we didn’t have any problems to score goals. ”And we even scored three goals in South Africa but only one was awarded by the referee. I believe you saw the two other ones, there was no offside.
”He is such a good player, he is more than two meters tall, and in the training sessions we saw already that he has some qualities. ”It will be interesting to see him also, perhaps not tomorrow, because tomorrow will not be a gift to the new players to come into a team for the first time with only two training sessions. But there will be another game and we’ll see.”
Onuachu, 24, has notched 17 goal from 31 matches in all competitions for FC Midtjylland this term, while providing six assists.
However, Rohr also defended his call-ups for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against Seychelles plus the friendly with Egypt, saying that he invited the most in-form players after considering the fact the Olympic Eagles were also involved in two crucial U23 AFCONQ vs Libya. According to the German, Dream Team VII stars Azubuike Okechukwu and Villarreal’s Samuel Chukwueze were initially named to the Super Eagles squad for the two games but he had to strike their names off the roster because coach Imama Amapakabo wanted to utilize the duo against Libya.
”We believe all the time to call the best players. Because of this special situation of the U23s at the same time, in my first list I had Chukwueze and Azubuike and speaking with the U23s coach Imama, who is also my assistant, we decided to let two players for his team and one of the other players in our scouting list is also in the team for the U23,” Rohr said at Thursday’s press conference.
”That’s why, perhaps, some of the players who deserve to be with us are not here but are with the U23s. ”We want to qualify for the Olympics of course, we have three very exciting games because the Seychelles game is very important for us to stay first in the group and on Monday second game against Libya for the U23 and the friendly against Egypt, so a lot of work to do. ”We have to see what we can do to help the U23 but we have to make sure we win the game on Friday and we can have a good team on Tuesday.”
Both Azubuike Okechukwu and Chukwueze have debuted for the Super Eagles and went the distance as the Nigeria U23s surprisingly lost 2-0 to Libya on March 20.
Video of Super Eagles training:
In preparation for AFCON game with Super Eagles VS Seyechelles, here are clips from yesterday's training at the Stephen keshi stadium in Asaba.
Interestingly, Ikouwem Udoh, Ndifreke Effiong of Akwa United and Paul Onuachu are in the team.
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Do you think Rohr is right to start Ighalo ahead of Paul Onuachu who is currently Super Eagles most in-form striker? Share your view on this in the comment session below… Thanks