Nigeria continue their 2022 World Cup Qualifying journey when they take on the Central African Republic in a doubleheader this month
The Super Eagles will hope to make it three wins out of three when they welcome Les Fauves in the first leg of their doubleheader 2022 World Cup qualifier.
Nigeria began their campaign with a 2-0 win over Liberia in Lagos before a 2-1 win at Cape Verde. They will hope to make it three victories when they take on Les Fauves on Thursday evening.
The three-time African champions take on CAR in the first leg at the Teslim Balogun Stadium but will be without some of their key players.
Nigeria will miss the creative outlet of Alex Iwobi and the energy of Wilfred Ndidi, who are both not in the squad due to injuries.
And with both players absent, Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr has a decision to make. Soccernet predicts the lineup the German tactician is likely to name for the big encounter.
Goalkeeper: Maduka Okoye has been the undisputed number one since last year, but he could lose his spot for this game after he arrived late to camp.
The Sparta Rotterdam goalkeeper joined the rest of the team on Wednesday, which did not please Rohr. And judging from the German tactician’s pre-match comments, Okoye could lose his spot to either Akpeyi or Uzoho.
Uzoho should get the nod if Rohr decides to drop Okoye, although Akpeyi’s recent performance for Kaizer Chiefs could also play into Rohr’s mind.
Defenders: The defence line is likely to be the same one that played against Liberia. The team’s vice-captain William Troost-Ekong will partner his other half of the ‘oyinbo wall’- Leon Balogun.
Jamilu Collins should keep his spot at left-back ahead of Zaidu Sanusi, while Ola Aina should slot in easily at right-back.
Midfielders: This is Rohr’s biggest dilemma as he cannot count on the services of Iwobi and Ndidi. Brentford’s star Frank Onyeka is likely to come in for the Leicester City man and pair with Rangers midfielder Joe Aribo.
Kelechi Iheanacho, who Brendan Rodgers sees as a striker, should take Iwobi’s place in the advanced midfield role.
Forwards: Moses Simon and Victor Osimhen are guaranteed a spot, which leaves the team with one remaining place to fill.
Samuel Kalu should be the player to occupy the other wing as he is one of Rohr’s trusted players. But his lack of form could see Chidera Ejuke get the nod, especially after the CSKA Moscow star’s performance in the game against Cape Verde.
Nigeria’s likely XI: Uzoho, Aina, Ekong, Balogun, Collins, Onyeka, Aribo, Iheanacho, Simon, Ejuke, Osimhen.