With the Super Eagles already through to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), the dead-rubber qualifier against Seychelles is the perfect opportunity for Gernot Rohr to kick off his preparation for the main tournament in Egypt.
With no other international break till May when he has to release his supplementary 35-man list for AFCON 2019, Rohr has little opportunity to experiment.
However, no one expected him to make wholesome changes to his2018 FIFA World Cup team. Rohr is known to be extremely loyal to his core players but he seems ready for other options.
He dropped out of sort Kelechi Iheanacho to include Paul Onuachu, a striker who plays for Danish club FC Midtjylland.
“We have two other new players, one is a striker Paul Onuachu because he has a different profile from the strikers we have and to see him it’s the last opportunity before the main list of 35,” Rohr said in his press conference ahead of the game against Seychelles.
Rohr has been widely quoted in the Nigerian media to say Onuachu will get 45 minutes against Seychelles, but that is the only change we expect from the coach.
“Tomorrow will not be a gift to the new players to come into the team for the first. It’s been only two training sessions and they will be other games and we will see,” Rohr said.
There is still the first place position to play for in Group E of AFCON 2019 qualifier with Nigeria just a point ahead of South Africa.
“For us, their last game against Seychelles is an official game and we have some challenges. Don’t forget that to stay first in the group we have to win,” Rohr said.
The game on Friday will also be an important one for Odion Ighalowho is tied on six goals with Burundi striker Fiston Abdul Razak. After his disappointing outing at the World Cup, Ighalo has been in brilliant form for the Super Eagles.
“Another challenge we have is that we have to have the best goalscorer in this AFCON qualifiers. For the moment we have two goalscorers with six goals, one of them is Ighalo and one of them is from Burundi. We want Ighalo to finish at the top as the goalscorer. This will be a wonderful answer for his critics after the World Cup,” Rohr said.
Nigeria face Seychelles who are desperate for some highs but a home game against a team that has lost four out of five qualifiers and drawn the other should pose no problem.