Nigeria

Full Squad:

Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama (Lille), Austin Ejide (Hapoel Be’er Sheva), Chigozie Agbim (Gombe United).

Defenders: Elderson Echiejile (Monaco), Efe Ambrose (Celtic), Godfrey Oboabona (Rizespor), Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves), Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough), Juwon Oshaniwa (Ashdod), Joseph Yobo (Norwich, on loan from Fenerbahce), Kunle Odunlami (Sunshine Stars).

Midfielders: John Mikel Obi (Chelsea), Ramon Azeez (Almeria), Ogenyi Onazi (Lazio), Reuben Gabriel (Waasland-Beveren), Michael Babatunde (Volyn Lutsk).

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow), Shola Ameobi (Newcastle), Emmanuel Emenike (Fenerbahce), Michael Uchebo (Cercle Brugge), Peter Odemwingie (Stoke), Victor Moses (Liverpool, on loan from Chelsea), Uche Nwofor (Heerenveen).

Best Ever Finish: Last 16 (1994, 1998)

Likely Nigeria XI For 2014 World Cup

Captain: Vincent Enyeama

Manager: Stephen Keshi

Having already won the African Cup of Nations last time out, Nigeria then eased past Ethiopia in the World Cup playoff.

Oddly, despite this success, coach Keshi has been having problems with his own football federation, including not being paid for several months and disputes regarding players. It remains to be seen whether this will have a major impact on the team during the summer.

Keshi sets up his team in a defensive manner, then looks to counter attack with plenty of pace and power. This team has an abundance of talented athletes but is also young and hungry.

While this is an exciting prospect, it can often lead to the abandonment of what can be a sound defensive structure. Getting a balance right is crucial.

Argentina are the overwhelming favourites in Nigeria’s group, but a second placed finish is by no means beyond this team. They should have enough to overcome minnows Iran, which means the Super Eagles’ clash with Bosnia & Herzegovina will be crucial.

Key Player – John Obi Mikel

The athletic Chelsea man has been much improved for his club over the past few seasons and this form has translated into his international play, where he has been a key man in the heart of the Nigeria midfield.

He is the anchor in midfielder, a skilled passer and a tough tackler. These attributes help release and accentuate the qualities of players around him. Most notably blocking off the midfield and releasing counter attacks for his quick and powerful front men.

Whilst it’s not immediately obvious, Mikel is vital to how this Nigerian team play. He needs to be switched on defensively and seamless in transitioning the ball from defence, through midfield and into attack.

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