Changes Rohr Could Make For Sierra Leone Rematch As Pressure Builds On Him


Gernot Rohr is not really popular among Nigerians right now after his side threw away a four-goal lead in the first leg of their Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Sierra Leone on Friday.

Nigeria were in cruise control after scoring four times against their West African rivals in the opening 30 minutes at last Friday.

After the hour mark, the question on everyone’s lips was- how many goals would the Super Eagles score?

However, what followed was one of the most dramatic comebacks in Africa’s football history as Sierra Leone pulled one back in the first half before scoring three times in the last twenty minutes to seal an incredible 4-4 draw.

Following the game, Nigerians hit out at the Super Eagles performance, while Rohr’s tactical setup was also questioned.

Also Read: Sierra Leone Disaster: Gernot Rohr The Architect Of His Side’s Failure

The players apologised after the game and promised to do better when the two teams clash in the return leg on Tuesday.

However, there could be a reshuffling of the team that played in the first leg, and Soccernet takes a look at some of the changes Rohr is likely to make ahead of the game at the Siaka Stevens Stadium, Freetown.

Maduka Okoye was in goal on Friday, but it is unlikely he keeps his place in the team after conceding four goals.

In fairness, there’s nothing he could really do about the four goals, but Rohr may consider keeping him out of the firing line so as not to damage his confidence.

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Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper, Daniel Akpeyi, looks like the likely replacement for Okoye- although there’s also Sebastian Osigwe in the squad.

Leon Balogun partnered William Troost Ekong, but the Rangers star walked off injured midway through the second half of the encounter.

That could see Semi Ajayi come in to replace him. Meanwhile, Kevin Akpoguma, who played as a right-back, is likely to make way for either Tyronne Ebuehi or Ola Aina.

Zaidu Sanusi was at fault for Sierra Leone’s fourth goal on Friday, but aside from that lapse in concentration, he was decent, and that should see him keep his place.

The midfield is Rohr’s biggest dilemma as Nigeria have just two midfielders in the squad. Joe Aribo and Oghenekaro Etebo played as the two men in the middle last Friday, but it was clear that they were tired after the hour mark.

However, due to lack of options, they are likely to be deployed in the same role again- although Semi Ajayi could play as a defensive midfielder this time, giving Etebo the chance to play in an advanced position.

Victor Osimhen is out for the clash after he suffered a dislocated shoulder in the first leg, while Samuel Chukwueze is a doubt.

Chukwueze played as the right-winger while Ahmed Musa played on the other flank with Alex Iwobi deployed behind Osimhen.

But with Chukwueze a doubt, Chidera Ejuke could come in for him, while Musa retains his place. Paul Onuachu is the natural replacement for Osimhen, but it’s obvious Rohr is not a fan of his style, and that could see Iheanacho lead the line with Iwobi playing behind him.

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Rohr has always favoured the 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formation, but there’s a possibility he could also try out the 3-5-2 tomorrow.

Nonetheless, irrespective of the team he puts out tomorrow, anything other than a win for Nigeria could spell the end for him as Super Eagles coach.

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