Super Eagles technical adviser, Gernot Rohr opted for a restructured compact midfield for his team’s Russia 2018 opener against Croatia, because he reckoned that the East European nation relied heavily on a creative and battling mid section.
Consequently, the Franco-German tactician reverted team captain, Join Mikel Obi from operating in the role he has been playing for Nigeria since the appointment of Rohr in 2016.
Before Saturday’s game, Mikel had been deployed behind the striker but against Croatia, despite the impressive performance of the former Chelsea star, Rohr opted to assign his skipper a different role.
Therefore, Mikel got a role just in front of the back four as part of the plans to nullify the threat of Croatia which lies in their midfield with the duo of Ivan Rakitic and the Croatian captain, Luka Modric.
Wilfred Ndidi will be played ahead of him with Oghenekaro Etebo operating in a more advanced role behind the striker, with strong mandates to track back and help the defence once they lose possession.
For the kick-off on Saturday, selected Francis Odinaka Uzoho to start in goal with a back four of Shehu Abdullahi, Bryan Idowu and William Troost-Ekong ahead of him.
Newly signed on Stoke City forward Etebo starts ahead of vice captain, Eddy Ogenyi Onazi while Shehu Abdullahi was selected to start ahead of Tyronne Ebuehi. Bryan Idowu will man the left back spot of the team.
Alex Iwobi, Victor Moses and Odion Ighalo will lead the line for Nigeria with Ndidi and Mikel completing the line up.