Super Eagles technical adviser, Gernot Rohr has served up a strong hint that Leganes of Spain defender, Kenneth Omeruo will get a starter’s shirt in Saturday’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Seychelles.
With four key defenders missing from the game on account of injuries, Rohr has turned his trust to Omeruo, and public declared that he expects the dark-skinned stopper, who is on loan from Chelsea, to lead by example.
Omeruo indeed showed a tremendous resurgence of form at the World Cup, during which he also got a super assist on one of Ahmed Musa’s goals against Iceland in Nigeria’s second group match.
With Tyronne Ebuehi and Shehu Abdullahi earlier ruled out Saturday’s and not even included in the list of invitees, Rohr was already short in defence, before the invited duo of Ola Aina and William Troost-Ekong followed suit at the start of the week.
The onus has now fallen on Omeruo to lead from the back, and Rohr says he is counting on the former Standard Liege of Belgium, ADO Den Haag of Holland, Middlesbrough of England as well as Konyaspor and Kasimpasa of Turkey stopper to stop Seychelles.
Rohr stated: “It depends on how we handle the absence of the injured defenders, but I think Omeruo should lead in their absence.
“He has been with the team for a long time and I hope he should be able to cover up for the other injured players who will not be part of the game.
“For us to win, we must not look down on Seychelles because everybody thinks they are no team but if we don’t raise our game we will be shocked.”
In reaction, Omeruo, who started two of the Eagles’ three games at Russia 2018, in which he completed 70% of his passes, succeeded in 67% of his tackles and won 63% of his duels, said he is up to the task come Saturday.
Omeruo said: “The World Cup is behind us now; we just have to focus on the present, which is the game on Saturday. Many will rate us as favourites but there are no more minnows in African football.
“We respect every team but we are desperate to get back to the top of the table of the AFCON qualifiers, so we will approach the game with all seriousness and try to pick all maximum points.”