21 Eagles Land in Uyo ahead Bafana Clash

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*Only Echiejile, Omeruo, Ahmed Musa expected to complete squad today

Duro Ikhazuagbe
Ahead of Saturday’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying clash with South Africa, 21 out of the 23 invited Super Eagles players arrived the team’s camp in Uyo yesterday.
Only newly wedded Elderson Echiejile, Kenneth Omeruo and Ahmed Musa are expected to join the rest of the squad today.

Media Officer of the Super Eagles, Toyin Ibitoye who confirmed the players in camp to THISDAY last night hinted that all the players went straight to business with gym work to loosen up ahead of proper training today.

Handler of the Super Eagles, Gernot Rohr, is believed not satisfied yet with the quality of the Nigerian senior national team despite no defeat in the eight games played under his watch.
Eagles played two friendlies against Corsica and Togo in Paris last week, drawing the former and winning the latter. Rohr’s men took their tally to 11 goals under the short tutelage of the Franco-German.

Speaking with KweséESPN after his side defeated Togo 3-0 in Paris last week, admitted that there is still more work to be done to bring the team to his expected standard.

“Our team is young and has a good future, (but) there is a lot of work to do still,” Rohr observed further.
“We had a good camp in Corsica on the invitation of their association. Between the mountain and the sea, we could work well with our four local (in Nigeria’s domestic league) players and new ones like (Henry) Onyekuru and (Mikel) Agu.

“And we also had excellent conditions in Paris. Nice pitches and a beautiful stadium where we got to work on two different organisations, 4-2-3-1 and 4-4-2 and give competitive football to the players who needed it,” he told KweséESPN.

He confirmed that he is actively trying to lower the average age of the squad with his introduction of young players, like Wolfsburg’s 18-year-old Victor Osimhen.
“You see what I am trying to do. We must bring him up slowly to a high level,” Rohr said of the young forward, who appears to be the gaffer’s long-term pick for the central striking role.

But with a frontline bursting at the seams with talent, young and old, it is elsewhere that Rohr’s headaches pound.
His defence has allowed just four goals in his tenure, but there is always the nervous tic of a backline teetering on the edge of collapse.

Three of his major defensive stalwarts — Carl Ikeme, Leon Balogun, and Kenneth Omeruo — always seem to be one kick or one tackle away from injury, and his full-back positions remain a constant area of tinkering.
But the gaffer remains optimistic. Musa Mohammed is being groomed to fill the right-back role. However, while he lingers, Abdullahi Shehu has stepped in and impressed his manager.

“Even making Ramadan, he played a good 45 minutes,” Rohr said of the Cyprus-based defender, which should be more than enough motivation for Mohammed to hurry up and get ready,” he concluded.