Five Things To Watch Out For In Super Eagles Friendly Against Poland

Published: March 23, 2018
Five Things To Watch Out For In Super Eagles Friendly Against PolandThe international friendly between Poland and Nigeria holds tonight at the 43,000 capacity Municipal Stadium in Wroclaw.'s Izuchukwu Okosi takes a look at the things to watch out for.

1. Rohr's Goalkeeper Choices

Chippa United goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi will miss tonight's game against the Polish due to visa hitches so its a straight shootout between Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Francis Uzoho for a starting berth.

There is strong likelihood that Rhor will start the game with Francis Uzoho and he could be installed as the country's first choice ahead of the World Cup if he does well.

That however may not be the case if Akpeyi makes it for the Serbia game and banishes the memory of his howler against Argentina in the friendly last year with a great performance.

2. Echiejile Or Idowu For Left Back Duty

During the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup, Elderson Echiejile  was criticized for some below par showings which led to calls for a viable competition for the 2013 AFCON winner.

That apparently led to the invitation of Amker Perm left back Brian Idowu for the friendly against Argentina in which he scored.

The jury will be out on these duo and the one that poses a better performance on Friday and Tuesday nights could also be considered the first choice number 3 for Nigeria, that is of course injury permitting.

3. Ekong & Balogun Versus Lewandowski

Since the playing days of Uche Okechukwu, Uche Okafor, Chidi Nwanu and Taribo West, the Super Eagles have not had a central defensive pair that generates confidence and excitement like Leon Balogun and William Troost-Ekong currently does.

Kenneth Omeruo and Godfrey Oboabona were touted as the partnership that will be close to what the Eagles had in the 90s and early 2000s but the form of Omeruo has nosedived while Oboabona is now a forgotten man after his move to the Saudi Arabian league.

Balogun and Ekong will be in action tonight and the coach Rhor will be keen to see how his defenders cope with the arduous task of stopping Bayern Munich goal machine Robert Lewandowski whom Rhor has admitted will be difficult to stop from scoring.

4. Set Piece Issues

The Super Eagles coaches and Nigerian fans alike will be keen to see how the team react to set pieces from the Polish side.

The Eagles do not also have players they can call on to convert free-kicks and that is one skill set the coaches must work on in the friendlies before the World Cup.

A team with about three players who can 'bend it like Beckham' or indeed Lionel Messi stand more chances of winning games than that which cannot.

In players like Wilfred Ndidi and John Ogu, the Eagles have players who can shoot and score from outside the box but there should be more players aside Iheanacho in the team who can perform same duty when he is not playing.

5. Refereeing Decisions of Michael Oliver

English Premier League referee Michael Oliver will be the official to handle the match tonight.

The Eagles are facing a team that possess one of the best strikers in world football in Robert Lewandowski.

Oliver was appointed to take charge of this match by the Polish Football Association so the conspiracy theory is that the referee could be biased in his decisions.

Nigeria do not have such star quality especially in the attack (no disrespect to Odion Ighalo who by the way is a quality striker in his own rights) so the natural thing to think is that the referee will protect that class of player who is one of Bayern Munich's most important players.

Izuchukwu Okosi

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