Nigeria Vs Zambia: Five Super Eagles Players To Watch Out For


With Nigeria set for a showdown against the
Chipolopolo of Zambia for a spot in the 2018
World Cup, we highlight five Nigerian players
to look out for in the cracker at the Godswill
Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo.

Victor Moses

The mercurial Moses, flying wingback at
Chelsea and talismanic winger with the Super
Eagles has proved he is Nigeria’ s hottest
footballing property with his performances in
the World Cup qualifiers .
Victor Moses showed his pre -eminence in both
legs of the fixture against Cameroon . Time and
again he was scythed down by the
Cameroonian defenders who were frustrated
by his trickery and constant running. The
winger (or wingback) has three goals in
Nigeria’s World Cup qualifying campaign
including his brace in his superlative
performance against Algeria. The 26-year old
missed the reverse fixture of this tie at Ndola
but at Uyo, he certainly will be chomping at the
bit to lead the Super Eagles to the 2018 World
Cup in Russia with his otherworldly display.
Moses is full of edge of the seat moments and
he’s sure to deliver in Nigeria’ s most important
game yet in the qualifiers.

Mikel Obi

The elder statesman , totem of everything calm
and serene . The love affair with Mikel Obi was
not always this strong . Mikel Obi didn’ t have
the fans’ adulation and high praise some
months back . It was more side-eyed
acknowledgement of his status as a cog in the
Super Eagles . Injury happened , he missed the
South Africa game and the midfield got thrust
into bedlam status. Then the true worth of the
Super Eagles captain was known . Mikel didn ’t
disappoint. Not fully fit he donned the Green
and White and strode the pitch majestically
restoring calm to the midfield while connecting
the midfield to the attack and notching a goal
and an assist. To further state his importance,
after he was substituted in the second leg of
the Cameroon game, the midfield found it
difficult to keep possession against the press of
their opponents. Also the midfield lost its
structure and the Cameroonians found it easy
to break through the lines to assert themselves
and ultimately getting a penalty that led to the
equalizer ten minutes after Mikel Obi trudged
off the pitch .

Leon Balogun

The Lion of the famed Oyinbo wall. The Mainz
player was an assured figure in the defence in
Nigeria’s last game quenching opposition
attacks while starting them for the Super
Eagles. The defender’ s excellent reading of the
game was on show as he stepped out of the
defence to make timely interceptions as well as
that last ditch tackle that remains etched into
our sub-conscious . The swaggering display by
the 29-year old alongside his partner William
Troost- Ekong has drawn comparisons with the
legendary duo of Taribo West and Uche
Okechukwu. Balogun ’s confidence with the ball
at his feet is amazing as the central defender
played out of the back with consummate ease
and when there were no passing options, he
simply walked the ball into the attack from the
defence. Easy peasy.

Odion Ighalo

The Changchun Yatai striker proved a menace
to the Cameroonian defence with his
movement and his physicality. After being
overlooked for the South African tie, the
forward was recalled for the Cameroon games
and he acquitted himself brilliantly. The former
Watford striker intelligently dropped deep to
receive balls when he felt starved of service a
trait he hardly showed in his previous displays
with the Super Eagles . The striker in several
games for Nigeria has always cut an isolated
figure in attack taking up high starting
positions and detached from the midfield and
gameplay generally. He has shown he can mix
it up now, dropping deep , drifting wide ,
playing on the defenders shoulder, it is the
whole nine yards now. With more strings
added to bow, as well as his contributions in
and around the box, scoring goals or creating
chances the 28 -year -old is certainly one to
watch. Oh, his signature ‘Iggy Chop ’, a simple
yet effective move he uses to dribble past
defenders to create a shooting angle is one
thing to look out for.

Alex Iwobi

His last game at Uyo was nothing short of a
disaster, largely ineffective and the Super
Eagles were defeated against South Africa.
Certainly, Gernot Rohr learnt from that game
an important lesson : how not to use Alex
Iwobi in a match. On how to use him , Arsene
Wenger might have shown Rohr a trick or two.
The midfielder who got a goal in Arsenal ’s last
game played in the inside right channel where
he combined well with Alexander Lacazette.
The Super Eagles certainly will bear a different
look with the youngster back in the side after
he missed the doubleheader to Cameroon
through injury . His creativity and intelligent
use of the ball will add another dimension to
the Eagles’ attack while also aiding ball
retention. The 21- year old got a goal in the
reverse fixture of the tie against Zambia, his
only goal for the Super Eagles so far , he’d
certainly love to add another. 

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