By Okey Onwugbonu                                                                                                                               This is the concluding part of
the write up –‘Who are these Eagles’, if you have not seen the part one you
can read it up
here.  We focused on Eagles goalkeepers and defenders
earlier, now it’s time     to look at the midfielders and attackers.
                                                                                                                                           MIDFIELDERS
Wilfred Ndidi
At just 21, Ndidi is a super
regular for both club and country. Since winning his first cap as an 18 year
old for the Eagles – a 7 minutes cameo appearance under coach Sunday Oliseh in
October 2015, the Leicester City anchor man has amassed 17 caps. A very
composed player that can shoot with either foot from range, take long throws,
though a bit rugged and robust when seeking the ball – an act that leads to
needless cautions sometimes. He is also technically gifted and his
interceptions and tackling rate are second to none in the team. He is a sure
starter in Russia after overcoming his injury woes and putting up a confident
performance against Czech Republic.
                                                                                                                                                        Ogenyi Onazi
Onazi received some lashing from
unforgiving Nigerian fans over his atrocious performances in games against the DR
Congo and England. A fan described him as ‘matter’
that only occupies space and many more asked that he be axed from the team. But
as vice-captain, AFCON winner and arguably Eagles best performer in Brazil
2014, Onazi comes with a bag full of experience. He is comfortable as a central
or defensive midfielder and on his day he is a very good tackler and can pick a
pass. The Trabzonspor  midfielder has won
48 caps for the Eagles scoring once and bagging three assists.
                                                                                                                                                           

John Ogu

John Ogu

Ogu can be referred to as a squad
player starting only 6 games despite winning 17 caps for the Eagles but has
been in the squad 25 times. His recent sojourn as a left sided central defender
in games against England and Czech Republic may see him starting ahead of
Kenneth Omeruo and Chidozie Awaziem if Coach Gernot Rohr opts for a 3 man
central defence. A very good passer of the ball, a strong tackler and he can
hit the back of the net from range. At 30 this may be the last major tournament
for the Israeli league champion
                                                                                                                                                             Joel Obi
This is one player that has been
really unlucky when it comes to the National team, no thanks to nagging
injuries. Touted as perfect fit for the attacking midfield role in the team as
replacement for captain Mikel Obi, Joel Obi has never lived up to his hype.
With a low center of gravity the Torino midfielder has good control, can take
on players and can pick a pass between opposing full backs and center backs.
Although he has not really brought his A-game to the team. Since earning his
debut as a 19 year old under Samson Siasia in 2011, the 26 year old has
accumulated only a meagre 12 caps with no assist or goal to his name. The World
Cup would be an opportunity for a comeback so far as he grabs the opportunity
when it beckons.
                                                                                                                                                Oghenekaro Etebo
Etebo can be described as an
energetic box to box midfielder who can support the defensive and attacking
play of the team. The 22 year old is recently signed for Stoke city in the
English championship after playing on loan for relegated Las Palmas in the
Spanish La Liga for the later part of the outgone season. With a lot of years
ahead of him, Etebo can help the team coming in from the bench to shore off the
midfield as he did in the game against England, but will not be awed if given a
starting berth.
                                                                                                                                                             Obi Mikel
The Jos born midfield maestro at
31 is the oldest player in the team and the leader of the pack; others would
look to him for inspiration. Mikel has ruffled shoulders with the best there is
at club level with former side Chelsea and should not be petrified coming up
against Croatia’s Modric or Argentina’s Messi. Mikel is the team’s best passer
of the ball and he is second to none in holding off play, comfortable in any
midfield role and he can also get an odd goal himself, accounting for 18 goals
– 6 goals and 12 assists in his 83 caps; an indispensable asset to the team.
Nigerians will be hoping that his killer passes bear fruits if the Eagles are
to soar beyond the group stage.
                                                                                                                                                     ATTACKERS
Simeon Nwankwo              
This 6ft6inches
tall Crotone striker popularly referred to as Simmy is a clear definition of a
gate crasher. His first invite to the Eagles was as part of the 30 man
provisional squad to the World Cup and just one friendly game later: he is on
the plane to Russia. He is a like for like replacement for main striker Odion
Ighalo and possesses remarkable skills and off the ball positioning. With 7
goals in 23 Serie A games for Crotone, Rohr’s battling ram will have to do
justice with the little time he’d be presented with in Russia.
                                                                                                                                                           

Alex Iwobi

Alex Iwobi

Austin “Jay
Jay” Okocha’s nephew is proving to be a real asset to the Super Eagles. Many
Arsenal supporters feel that he is more committed to the Nigerian course as he
is an entirely different player when putting on the Green and White for the
Eagles. Iwobi versatility will come in handy either as a winger, attacking
midfielder, deep lying play maker or even as a wing back. The former English
youth prodigy has proven to be one for the big occasion after scoring in big
games versus Argentina and England. The 22 year old is fast, skillful and a
good team player. He is a certain starter in Russia.
                                                                                                                                                        Ahmed Musa
Ahmed Musa
holds the enviable record as the only Eagles player to score a brace at the
World Cup after he scored twice in the 3-2 loss against Argentina in Brazil
2014. The Leicester City forward on loan at Russia’s Locomotive Moscow has lost
his starting place in the team but would hope to replicate his 2014 form when
called upon. Musa can play on the wings and as a striker with his main asset being
his pace.
                                                                                                                                                       Kelechi Iheanacho
The Leicester
City forward has the best scoring ratio in the Eagles team after finding the
back of the net 8 times in 15 games. Iheanacho who can play as a center
forward, support striker, attacking midfielder and on the wings, was heralded
as the poster boy for the Eagles after his exploits in the Under 17 led to his
signing for Manchester City. Lack of game time and loss of form has seen him
drop down the pecking order in the team, so we’d expect him to come in from the
bench during the Mundial. Iheanacho possesses a poacher’s instinct with deft
touches and skills to go with it.
                                                                                                                                                         Odion Ighalo
Ighalo is the
man saddled with the task of getting the goals for Nigeria at the World Cup but sadly he has not been raking in
the goals with his last coming in the game against Cameroun. Ighalo was a late
arrival to the National team making his debut at 25 in 2015, he has gone on to
make 17 appearances for the Eagles scoring a paltry 4 goals, failing to score
in his last 6 games. The Changchun Yatai striker is most times left isolated in
the team and to bring the best out of him the Eagles may have to play to his
strengths, which is having a support striker. His positioning is superb and so
is his shooting but the team must look out for his runs while Nigerians pray
that he gets a bit lucky in front of goal.
                                                                                                                                                         Victor Moses
Moses can be
seen as Eagles poster boy especially playing as a regular for a top club like
Chelsea. Playing as wing back at Chelsea has horned his defensive skills and he
has brought that to bear in the Eagles. Moses is fast, skillful, a good tackler
and a threat from dead balls. Comfortable on the wings as a winger or wing
back, Moses also contributes his fair amount of goals having found the net 11
times in his 32 caps. For the Super Eagles to do well at the Mundial, Victor
Moses is one player that must bring on his A-game.
aaaaa

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