AFCON 2021: How should Nigeria line up against COVID19-hit Tunisia?

Awoniyi is expected back in the attack, while Okoye is set to return in goal

Wilfred Ndidi in training

The Super Eagles might be forced to play against a weakened Tunisian squad after news emerged that 12 members of their team, including the captain, have tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Round of 16.

While it might be an issue for the Carthage Eagles, Nigeria's interim manager will care less on matchday as he looks to field his strongest players, all of whom are available.

Predicted Formation: 4-4-2

Maduka Okoye

After sitting out Nigeria's 2-0 win for Guinea-Bissau, Okoye should return to goal for the Tunisia clash. The goalkeeper has so far, been beaten just once: from the penalty spot against Sudan.

Ola Aina

Aina should return to the Super Eagles right-back position after being left out for Tyronne Ebuehi. His impressive showing against Egypt when he was never dribbled past even once, making four clearances and two interceptions, should be on the showing when Nigeria play Tunisia.

William Troost-Ekong (captain)

Troost-Ekong scored in Nigeria's last group game against Guinea-Bissau. The central defender who made CAF's team of the group stage would be expected to lead the team confidently from the back as he did in the Super Eagles' last three games.

Kenneth Omeruo

Having rested properly following an injury scare in Egypt's game, and ninety minutes showing in the subsequent game against Sudan. Omeruo should be back to the starting XI. His partnership in the central defence should serve as a good covering for Troost-Ekong.

Zaidu Sanusi

Like the rest of the original defence line, Sanusi should start ahead of Jamilu Collins who played for the Super Eagles in the final Group D game against Guinea-Bissau. The speedster will be expected to bring on his A-game as he did against Egypt and Sudan.

Chidera Ejuke

Eguavoen will give Ejuke a chance to become a regular again when the team takes on Tunisia. Despite his sub-par performance in Nigeria's last group game against Guinea-Bissau, Ejuke's quick movement on the ball and positioning will be needed to torment Tunisia's right side of the defence. But should he fail to be as spectacular as Moses Simon on the left, he should be excused early for Samuel Chukwueze in the second half.

Wilfred Ndidi

Named by CAF as one of the best players in the group stage, coach Austin Eguavoen will look to lineup Ndidi for the umpteenth time. The defensive midfielder who coordinates plays from the heart of Nigeria's team will be tasked with ball recoveries, and buildup passes.

Joe Aribo

After stepping off the team for Alex Iwobi, Aribo should be called upon again to feature against Tunisia's Carthage Eagles. Two impressive showings against Egypt and Sudan saw Aribo possess one of the most ground duels, tackles and touches in the Nigerian team, and Eguavoen would want to see that sort of delightful football on display again.

Moses Simon

Simon has had possibly the best showings by a player from the Nigerian team at the AFCON. Something Eguavoen is not ready to stop from happening. A goal, two assists, a man-of-the-match award and a mention by CAF in the group stage team of the competition should be enough to buy Simon a place in the Super Eagles’ left midfield position.

Kelechi Iheanacho

Although Iheanacho in the game against Guinea-Bissau was not as brilliant as he was against Egypt and Sudan, the forward set up fellow striker Sadiq Umar for a goal. Against Tunisia, he will be expected to reconnect with Taiwo Awoniyi as Nigeria seeks more clinical finishing up front.

Taiwo Awoniyi

While Awoniyi might not have been as clinical as Iheanacho so far, he would be expected to start ahead of Sadiq Umar who he's been better than in terms of final balls. The striker scored a goal in his last outing against Sudan and will look to not only reignite his partnership with Iheanacho in attack but also work with Simon and Aribo to get Nigeria the needed goals.

Topics:

More from category

Recommended articles

FestivalofTT2022: How Nigerians dominated ITTF Africa Western Region Championships

FestivalofTT2022: How Nigerians dominated ITTF Africa Western Region Championships

Hennessy revitalises Festac Park 23 Basketball Court with “In The Paint initiative

Hennessy revitalises Festac Park 23 Basketball Court with “In The Paint” initiative

Arsenal suffer a blow as Osimhen makes his transfer decision

Arsenal suffer a blow as Osimhen makes his transfer decision

Gucci unveil Man City flop Jack Grealish as Brand Ambassador

Gucci unveil Man City flop Jack Grealish as Brand Ambassador

Top 5 transfer flops of the just concluded Premier League season

Top 5 transfer flops of the just concluded Premier League season

Top 5 successful transfers of the just concluded Premier League season

Top 5 successful transfers of the just concluded Premier League season