With Wilfred Ndidi, John Obi Mikel and Ogenyi Onazi all ruled out of the African Cup of Nations qualifying round of game against South Africa, attentions have turned to who will partner with Etebo at the middle of the park to ensure that the Super Eagles get the desired result at Johannesburg when they take on the Bafana-Bafana team of South Africa.
The position of defensive midfield is to be contested between John Ogu and Mikel Agu as no other player has the natural ability to dazzle in such position. John Obi Mikel has been unable to feature for the Nigerian team since the 2018 World Cup game at Russia back in July, Ogenyi Onazi has been battling for fitness after sustain an injury earlier in October camp at Uyo while Ndidi got his second yellow card which ultimately ruled him for the crunch fixture.
Genort Rohr has been faced with the idea of either reshuffling his tactical setup due to the absence of key midfielders, but recent performance indicates that the German tactician will stick to his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation, with Alex Iwobi expected to pull the strings at the middle of the park. Etebo having been selected is expected to snap a position, while Genort Rohr’s style of football determines who completes the midfield.
South Africa are known to be a high scoring side in the AFCON Qualifiers with the Bafana-Bafana already netting 9 goals in the qualifying game. The South African team are currently in second place with Nigeria just ahead of them by a point. The South African team has a host of talented players who prefer to keep the ball on the ground. The last time the faced the Super Eagles, the Bafana Bafana side defeated the Nigerian team 2-0.
John Ogu must be featured by Rohr if he wants the Super Eagles to have overall stability when they lurk horns with the host team at Johannesburg in November. Ogu happens to be an experienced player who understands the requirement to feature in the defensive midfield position. The player has been in the team since 2013 and was even part of Stephen Keshi team that played in the confederation cup showpiece in Brazil. Mikel Agu on the other hand lacks the experience to feature in the position and could potential lose grip of the game. John Ogu’s presence at the would give the Super Eagle’s midfield are different look while featuring of Mikel Agu will give the Nigerian team a youthful look at the middle of the park, and the Bafana-Bafana team could exploit the side. John Ogu will certainly sit deep and allow Etebo to make those crucial runs when Nigeria attack, but the same cannot be said about Agu who might require Etebo to assist him in beefing up the midfield and this could limits Nigeria’s style of play. Ogu certainly might not be as fast as Agu but his physicality is likely to be crucial particularly when the game enters into a tense stage.