Ahead of Nigeria’s meeting with the Libyan National team in Akwa Ibom on Saturday, here is a possible starting 11 for the Group E African Nations Cup qualifiers as compiled by goal.com, as Gernot Rohr looks to build on the progress of the last international break.
Francis Uzoho: The undisputed No. 1, neither Uzoho or any of his rivals have done anything that will prompt Gernot Rohr to switch things up between the sticks.
Abdullahi Shehu: The full-back’s returned to the fold, and should have enough to resume duties on the right side of the defence, even if he was unceremoniously jettisoned during the World Cup.
Leon Balogun: Despite his relative inactivity with new club Brighton & Hove Albion, Balogun will retain his spot in defence. He’s started 12 of Nigeria’s last 14 games.
William Troost-Ekong: Expect the Udinese centre-back to return to the starting XI after missing the Seychelles game. He’ll contribute leadership to the backline, and Balogun typically looks stronger with Troost alongside him.
Brian Idowu: Jamilu Collins has featured for the Super Eagles now, and both he and Ola Aina represent increasing competition for Idowu. However, it’s hard to see Rohr changing things for such a massive clash, so we’re tipping Idowu to retain his place.
Wilfred Ndidi: The tough-tackling Leicester City man is expected to continue in the heart of the midfield, where he’ll protect the backline and also be charged with driving the Eagles forward.
Oghenekaro Etebo: Ogenyi Onazi and John Ogu are both contenders for a central-midfield berth, but we’re giving the nod to Etebo. He’s started four of Nigeria’s last five, and while his form in the Championship has been patchy, he offers more dynamism than his midfield rivals.
Alex Iwobi hasn’t always had Rohr’s trust, but he’s in good form for Arsenal, and with John Obi Mikel absent, could be included from the start as the Super Eagles look to break down the stubborn Libyan defence.
Ahmed Musa: Nigeria’s most potent attacking outlet will start in support of Ighalo and Kalu, and his pace will likely be a key weapon as the Super Eagles look to break down their opponents’ resolute backline.
Odion Ighalo: He’s in excellent form in China, having netted 20 goals this season, and looks to be an undisputed starter even if he isn’t completely to the taste of Nigeria fans. He scored against the Seychelles, and would win over a swathe of admirers if he could net against Libya.
Samuel Kalu started ahead of Henry Onyekuru for the Seychelles game, in something of a surprise. Considering the latter’s decline in form for Galatasaray, expect Kalu to retain his spot.