As we wind up with the final round of qualification matches for next year’s African cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea with seven teams having registered as the tournament’s first qualifies, in the form of South Africa, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Tunisia and Senegal added their name to Algeria’s for the tournament proper in Equatorial Guinea next year; whereas the others await a miracle to represent their country at the competition come January 2015.
2013 Champions Nigeria, is half way into making a dramatic come back with a ticket to Equatorial Guinea, leveled on 7 points with DR Congo behind the group leaders South Africa, with 11 points and a game at hand against the Super Eagles on Wednesday.
The continent of Africa and sport loving Nigerians will be on the edge of their seats as the Keshi led team will lock horns with their South African counterpart in a game that’s has been tagged the ‘Must Watched’ for everyone having come from a series of bad results in its first three games.
Bafana Bafana have been the stand out team in Group A of the final phase of qualifying. They haven’t lost a match so far and have already qualified for the event with a game to spare. Shakes Mashaba has managed to carve out a special unit from his budding youngsters who have now proven doubters wrong.
At this stage of the qualifiers, there is no time for game, neither is there time to favor a player over the other. Stephen Keshi by now should have selected/know the starting XI he will field on Wednesday 19th, October 2014 in Akwa Ibom.
Desperate Times they say, call for Desperate Measures, Keshi needs to play his cards right with the right selection of starting XI. It is a must win match for Nigeria, the defending African champions, who will know if they don’t get three points, they will fail to qualify for the finals, in Equatorial Guinea.
The Big Boss surprised many by naming Villarreal forward Ike Uche in his squad that battled and defeated Republic of Congo which proved to be a good addition to the team as he netted one of the two goals from the spot. However, it is highly improbable that the 30-year-old should start against Bafana Bafana of South Africa.
From Saturday’s performance, sport analysts and fans feel Aaron Samuel is the suitable replacement for under firing Super Eagles striker. Emmanuel Emenike’s goal drought has stretched beyond the bounds of comfort; however, there is little evidence that the Big Boss will make such a mistake again.
The Super Eagles will need to curtail the striking excesses of the South Africans as they have managed more wins than anyone in the group and have conceded only one goal in five games – Apart from the plans of stopping their penetration, the likes of Ahmed Musa, Sone Aluko, Aaron Samuel and Ik Uche need to be at alert for any loose ball from any of the Nigerian midfielders.
Nigeria XI: Enyeama; Ambrose, Egwuekwe, Oboabona, Oshaniwa; Hope Akpan, Sone Aluko, Mikel; Ahmed Musa, Aaron Samuel, IK Uche.