By Okey Onwugbonu                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Super Eagles coach,
Gernot Rohr promised to prune down his 30 man provisional list for the World
Cup to 25 after the game against DR Congo in Port Harcourt and with Moses Simon
“ruled out” of the trip to Russia, he would need to drop just four.                                                                                                                                                          After the Super Eagles 1-1 draw against DR
Congo, some players cemented their place on the plane to Russia, others shot
themselves in the foot, while some didn’t even get a look-in which may imply
that their fate has already been sealed.                                                                                                                                                                            And despite the clamour for the inclusion of
Kelechi Nwakali, Rohr had said the provisional list cannot be altered.                                                                                       
Rohr had also informed
Nigerians that he already knows 20 out of the 23 players he’d be taking to
Russia, leaving only 3 slots to fight for, make that 4 with the injury to
Simon. Who is likely to gate crash the World Cup party after the Congo game?               
I reckon Rohr would
take 3 goal keepers, 8 defenders, 6 midfielders and 6 attackers to the World
Cup.                                                                                                                      
Goal
keepers                                                                                                                      

  Ikechukwu Ezenwa
 Gernot Rohr rewards
loyalty and prefers sticking to what he is used to rather than spring up
surprises. He hardly ever changes his mind if his antecedents are anything to
go by, so I expect Dele Ajiboye to be dropped.                                                                                                                                                                      Rohr has shown his hand in favour of Francis
Uzoho by playing him for 90 minutes in three straight friendly games and the
young keeper seems to be repaying Rohr’s trust if his performance against Congo
DR is anything to go by.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     And Rohr certainly needs the experience of
Daniel Akpeye despite his shortcomings, and we don’t expect him to drop
Ikechukwu Ezenwa after his exploits during qualifiers in favour of his deputy
in the Eagles home based team Ajiboye.                                                                                                                                                                          Ajiboye I think is in the team to keep other
goal keepers on their toes. No surprises here as Ajiboye would be dropped.                                                                                      
Defenders                                                                                                                         

William Troost Ekong

 

Our oyinbo wall
comprising of Leon Balogun and Troost Ekong who got the goal against Congo are
certainly going to the World Cup, so are the duo of Kenneth Omeruo and Chidozie
Awaziem to offer adequate cover for central defense.                                                                                                          Former Kano Pillars man, Stephen Eze who
now plays for Lokomotiv Plovdiv of Bulgaria has not yet been tried and should
be axed as his fate has been sealed.                           
Bryan Idowu seems to
have wrestled the left full-back slot from Elderson Echiejile but I expect both
of them to make the team while the last slot will be for the right full-back
position, Shehu Abdullahi already has one slot so Ola Aina and Tyronne Ebuehi
must slug it out for the other spot.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Both players played against Congo, while
Ebuehi performed creditably well, Aina gave away a penalty and didn’t put up a
solid performance. Despite his versatility and skills I don’t see Aina making
the cut.                                                                                
Midfielders                                                                                                                       

John Ogu

 

Captain of the side
John Mikel Obi is the first name on the list to Russia and should be
accompanied in midfield by trusted legs Ogenyi Onazi, Wilfred Ndidi, and
Oghenekaro Etebo who put up assuring performances week in week out for
relegated La Liga side, Las Palmas although he is yet to deliver for the
Eagles.                                                                                                                                                                    Joel Obi yet again flattered to deceive not
showing the creative spark fans have been craving for, while Mikel Agu did his
chances a whole lot of good with his by the book performance.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                John Ogu and Uche Agbo were absent but I think
Ogu has done enough to avoid the cut especially for his marksmanship and
ability to shoot from range.                                                                                                                                                            We are yet to really see Uche Agbo play and I
doubt we will anytime soon, since he was not in action against Congo, being
able to play in defense and midfield notwithstanding, for me he doesn’t stand a
chance and should be axed alongside Joel Obi.                                                                                                                                      
Forwards                                                                                                                         

Junior Lokosa

  

Junior Lokosa may be
the hottest Nigerian striker the world over presently and also put in a man of
the match performance against Congo playing as a right winger.                                                                                                                                                        In the absence
of Simon Moses it will be a straight fight between Lokosa and Simeon Nwankwo who
can’t be shoved aside quite easily after scoring 7 goals in the Serie A
including an overhead kick against Juventus and playing quite well in his
Eagles debut only denied a debut goal despite lack of adequate service by the
woodwork.                                                                                                                                                            If Rohr wants a replacement for Simon then it
will be Lokosa as Etebo didn’t live up to expectation as a winger against
Congo, but Rohr has stated that he needs a battling ram and Nwankwo to an
extent fits the bill.                                                                                                                                                                                                                Maybe Rohr would sacrifice a defender and take
two of them. Since someone like Idowu can play across the back four, in that
case two out of Echiejile, Aina and Ebuehi may give way.                                                                                                                      
Alex Iwobi, Victor
Moses, and a resurgent Ahmed Musa are sure bets and would make up the party.                                                                                                                         
Baring injuries Dele
Ajiboye, Ola Aina, Stephen Eze and Uche Agbo should be dropped while Junior
Lokosa and Joel Obi would be axed when the team is trimmed to 23 from 25.                                                                                                                               
My
Final 23                                                                                                                             
Goal
Keepers                                                                                                                         
Francis Uzoho
Ikechukwu Ezenwa
Daniel Akpeyi                                                                                                                                                                                          
Defenders                                                                                                                                          
Shehu Abdullahi                                                           
Tyronne Ebuehi                                                                               
Leon Balogun
Troost Ekong
Chidozie Awaziem
Kenneth Omeruo
Bryan Idowu
Elderson Echiejile                                                                                                                          
Midfielders                                                                                                                          
John Mikel Obi                                
Ogenyi Onazi
Wilfred Ndidi
Oghenekaro Etebo
John Ogu
Mikel Agu                                                                                                                                             
Forwards                                                                                                                            
Victor Moses
Simeon Nwankwo
Alex Iwobi
Ahmed Musa
Odion Ighalo
Kelechi Iheanacho                          

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