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5 key players for Nigeria at CHAN : Sports : Nigerialog.com - Nigeria's Premier Online Forum (66 views)

5 key players for Nigeria at CHAN

By Ramjoe (M)January 10, 2018, 06:35:17 AM
As the 2018 African Nations Championship is about to start,  Nigerialog introduces five key players from Salisu Yusuf's home-based squad.

Will any of this quintet emerge as the hero as the Eagles look to win the nation's first CHAN title?

Ikechukwu Ezenwa is the team's first-choice goalkeeper and captain. The Enyimba guardsman is set for his second successive participation at the tournament following his debut two years ago in Rwanda.

The 29-year-old brings considerable international experience to the team, as he kept goal for Nigeria in four matches during their successful 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

He'll be hoping that a strong tournament at the CHAN will convince Gernot Rohr to give him the starting berth in Russia. However, Ezenwa must cut out his occasionally playful antics, which are counterproductive at this level, and time his anticipation to perfection if he is to leave a positive mark on the competition.



Kalu Orji Okagbue who plays for Enugu Rangers  is one of four surviving members from the team that exited the group stage in Rwanda, and represents a vital inclusion to an inexperienced squad. His experience in Rwanda will tell a lot about the home-based Eagles' defence.

The ball-playing central defender, who is equally comfortable playing at right-back, is impressively calm under pressure, and has the pace to match the quickest forwards, as he showed against Ahmed Akaichi of Tunisia at the 2016 edition.

To find a perfect balance in the heart of the defence, the coaching crew must pair Okogbue with an aerially dominant partner and clean tackler of the ball, areas where the Rangers man can be found out.



Rabiu Ali is set to be the Super Eagles' driving force in midfield, as he makes a return to the African Nations Championship after been exiled from the last squad in Rwanda.

The Kano Pillars star has stamped his authority on the present team, easily seeing off the challenge from his younger competitors, and looks set to be the team's most advanced midfielder in an attacking formation.

Ali is always a trusted outlet for goals, scoring three times at his maiden CHAN appearance in 2014, and also netted against Benin in the qualifiers and twice at the recent WAFU Nations Cup.

However, this could be a challenging tournament for the veteran midfielder in terms of fitness as he battles against younger and fitter opposition players.


Ifeanyi Ifeanyi is always a delight to watch whenever he takes to the field due to his intelligent movement and trademark passing, whether for club or country.

The diminutive midfielder, who does an excellent job screening the defence, is an undisputed starter in this team, and gets in on merit.

The absence of long-term midfield partner at both club and international level, Afeez Aremu, should not stop Ifeanyi from emerging as one of the breakout stars at his debut senior international tournament.



Anthony Okpotu, as Nigeria will be hoping for a striker to follow in the footsteps of Chisom Chikatara and take the African Nations Championship by storm. We have seen enough to believe that Anthony can deliver the goods when it matters.

In Okpotu, Eagles appear to have found a reliable goalscoring machine.

The Lobi Stars forward was the top scorer in the NPFL this term having netted 19 goals at the conclusion of the 2016/17 Nigeria Professional Football League season, and if he can continue in this vein, he should fire the Eagles out of the group stages and beyond.

Okpotu himself will be hoping that a strong showing in Morocco can lead to a call-up to the World Cup in Russia this summer.


Re: 5 key players for Nigeria at CHAN

By Ramjoe (M)January 10, 2018, 06:14:43 PM
Brother Ike...  :))


I like that guy  :)) :))


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