THIRTY TWO PLAYERS DELIVER NIGERIA’S WORLD CUP TICKET

THIRTY TWO PLAYERS DELIVER NIGERIA’S WORLD CUP TICKET

BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

In Nigeria’s march to Russia 2018 World Cup, a total of 32 players tasted action in the seven matches played so far.

In the opening game with Swaziland on November 13, 2015, 14 of the players played, (including three substitute players) in the encounter that ended goalless.

In the reversed fixture which Nigeria won 2-0 at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt, five other players not featured in the earlier match entered the fray.

They are: Bassey Ezekiel, Chima Akas, Austin Oboroakpo, Paul Onobi and Sylvester Igbonu. It was at this match that Obafemi Martins last played for Nigeria and the last Nigeria played under Sunday Oliseh as the coach.

Franco –German tactician Gernot Rohr took over and in the next World Cup qualifying game against Zambia in Ndola. He gave opportunity to six players that did not feature in the previous round encounter with Swaziland.  Alex Iwobi made his debut. Central defender, Ekong William-Troost who had made his Nigerian debut in Stephen Keshi’s last match in charge of the Super Eagles on 13 June 2015 returned to squad with Rohr in charge.

Kenneth Omeruo and Brown Ideye, members of the old brigade, made their first entry into the 2018 World Cup qualifiers in the match with Zambia.  Also, Winfred Onyinye who made his Nigerian debut under Oliseh in an October 8, 2015 duel with DR Congo in Belgium played his first World Cup qualifying game in the away game with Zambia.  Anderson Esiti also played in the match.

When the Super Eagles beat Algeria 3-1 last year, another set of four hitherto unused players in the World Cup qualifying matches were fielded. They were:  Daniel Akpeyi who took the place of ill Carl Ikeme, Victor Moses Kelechi Iheanacho and Etebo Oghenekaro. In the next game against Cameroon last month, Ikechukwu Ezenwa made his debut for the main stream Super Eagles. Ndubuisi Agu was another hitherto unused player. Ola Aina became the 32nd player to prosecute the World Cup project when he came in as a substitute for Uwa Echiejile in the 1-0 defeat of Zambia last Saturday.

Rohr speaking on TVC remarked that more players will be will be employed in the trial matches ahead of the World Cup to ensure that virtually every player has a key substitute. In a media release by the NFF Rohr revealed he is elated working with the Super Eagles, after the three –time African champions became the first African country to qualify for the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup on Saturday.

“I am very excited to be working with this team: a blend of the experienced and the young and ambitious ones. They are a delight to be with at all times, and I believe we are onto great things.

“At the beginning of the qualifying series, many people said we were going to be chasing it. But we sat down together and we promised ourselves that we would go all out and get the ticket.”

The 64 –year old, who was employed by the Nigeria Football Federation 15 months ago, has played 10 matches, winning six and losing only one. The only loss was against South Africa’s Bafana Bafana in Uyo, at the start of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in June 2017.

“That match was a big wake –up call for us. Now that we have the World Cup ticket, we will go all out for the AFCON ticket and get it.

“When you have a team that has so much self –belief, a lot of things are possible. Age is but a number. I feel young and able and willing to go on working with this group.”

THOSE WHO FOUGHT FOR THE

RUSSIA 2018 WORLD CUP TICKET

 

13 Nov.  2015 (WCq- Lobamba) SWAZILAND 0-0 NIGERIA.

Ikeme Carl – Oboabona Godfrey, Echiejile Elderson, Ambrose Efe, Ahmed Musa, Ighalo Odion, Obi Mikel/Martins Obafemi, Simon Moses, Abdulahi Suleiman, Igboun Sylvester/Ibrahim Rabiu/Ihenacho Kelechi, Onazi Ogenyi.

 

17 Nov. 2015 (WCq- Port Harcourt) NIGERIA 2-0 SWAZILAND.

Ikeme Carl – Abdullahi Shehu/Bassey Ezekiel, Akas Chima/ Echiejile Elderson,  Onazi Ogenyi, Oboroakpo Austin,  Ambrose Efe, Onobi Paul, Igbonu Sylvester, Simon Moses, Ighalo Odion, Musa Ahmed/Martins Obafemi.

{Scorers: Simon Moses, Ambrose Efe}

 

9 Oct. 2016 (WCq -Ndola)  ZAMBIA 1-2 NIGERIA.

Ikeme Carl – Echiejile Elderson,  Omeruo Kenneth, Ekong William Troost, Ideye Brown/Esiti Anderson, Moses Simon/Musa Ahmed,  Obi Mikel, Iheanacho Kelechi, Onazi Ogenyi/Shehu Abdulahi, Iwobi Alex, Onyinye Winfred Ndidi.

{Scorers: Iwobi Alex, Iheanacho Kelechi}.

 

12 Nov. 2016 (WCq -Uyo) NIGERIA 3-1 ALGERIA.

Akpeyi Daniel –  Echiejile Elderson,  Omeruo Kenneth/ Shehu Abdulahi, Ekong William Troost, Balogun Leon, Obi Mikel/ Onyinye Winfred Ndidi, Moses Victor,  Iheanacho Kelechi, Onazi Ogenyi,  Etebo Oghenekaro, Iwobi Alex/ Musa Ahmed.

{Scorers: Moses Victor -2, Obi Mikel}.

 

1 Sep. 2017 (WCq -Uyo) NIGERIA 4-0 CAMEROON

Ezenwa Ikechukwu –  Echiejile Elderson, Onyinye Winfred Ndidi, Ekong William Troost, Balogun Leon, Ighalo Odion/ Iheanacho Kelechi, Obi Mikel/Agu Ndubuisi, Moses Victor/Musa Ahmed,  Shehu Abdulahi, Simon Moses, Onazi Ogenyi.

{Scorers: Ighalo Odion, Obi Mikel, Moses Victor, Iheanacho Kelechi}.

 

4 Sep. 2017 (WCq -Yaounde) CAMEROON 1-1 NIGERIA

Ezenwa Ikechukwu –  Echiejile Elderson, Onyinye Winfred Ndidi, Ekong William Troost, Balogun Leon, Ighalo Odion, Obi Mikel, Moses Victor,  Shehu Abdulahi, Simon Moses, Onazi Ogenyi.

{Scorer: Simon Moses}.

 

7 Oct. 2017 (WCq -Uyo) NIGERIA 1-0 ZAMBIA

Ezenwa Ikechukwu –  Echiejile Elderson/Aina Ola, Onyinye Winfred Ndidi, Ekong William Troost, Balogun Leon, Ighalo Odion, Obi Mikel, Moses Victor,  Shehu Abdulahi, Simon Moses/Iwobi Alex, Onazi Ogenyi/Agu Ndubuisi.

{Scorers: Iwobi Alex}.

 

 

 

 

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