Nigeria Vs Lesotho: 3 key positions Jose Peseiro needs to fix urgently in the Super Eagles

3 key positions Jose Peseiro needs to fix urgently in the Super Eagles

Nigeria Vs Lesotho: 3 key positions Jose Peseiro needs to fix urgently in the Super Eagles

Tunde Young 12:00 - 15.11.2023

Super Eagles coach Jose Peseiro has to address some problems in the team ahead of the first FIFA World Cup qualifier against Lesotho

The Super Eagles will begin the journey to the 2026 FIFA World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico with their first qualifying game against Lesotho.

Nigeria are in Group C of the CAF World Cup qualifiers along with Lesotho, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Benin Republic, and Rwanda and they play the first two teams in this international break to kick off the qualification cycle.

The Super Eagles are expected to qualify out of that group but that might be harder to accomplish if head coach Jose Peseiro does not fix some of the positional problems in the team.

Here are three key positions Jose Peseiro needs to fix urgently before the Super Eagles host Lesotho on Thursday.

3 key positions Jose Peseiro needs to fix urgently

Francis Uzoho in goal again?

The elephant in the Super Eagles room is the uncertainty surrounding the goalkeeping position with the vast majority of football lovers in the country uncomfortable with Francis Uzoho's status as the first-choice goalie.

Francis Uzoho in action for Super Eagles || Credit: Imago

Uzoho was called up along with Maduka Okoye and Ojo Olorunleke as the goalkeepers to prosecute the games against Lesotho and Zimbabwe.

However, Okoye has had to pull out of the squad and has been replaced by Bendel Insurance shot-stopper, Amas Obasogie.

The problem with that is, it pretty much guarantees Uzoho will play both games as Okoye was the most likely challenger to his starting spot.

From what we know about Peseiro in his near two years in charge, there is no way he drops Uzoho for either of the home-based goalkeepers, Ojo Olorunleke and Amas Obasogie.

This means the goalkeeping problems of the Super Eagles will most likely continue until the Portuguese coach is brave enough to drop Uzoho and give someone else a chance.

Who starts next to Alex Iwobi in midfield?

The Super Eagles squad list for these fixtures against Lesotho and Zimbabwe features four midfielders which does not inspire confidence in the general polulace.

Frank Onyeka, Joe Aribo, Alex Iwobi and Raphael Onyedika are the fantastic four on which Nigeria's midfield hopes rest and here is why that could potentially be a problem.

Peseiro typically prefers to start with two central midfielders with Wilfried Ndidi and Alex Iwobi usually the preferred duo but the former is out injured at the moment which leave an opening.

Iwobi starting already rules out Joe Aribo as Peseiro typically prefers one attacking and one defensive midfielder which means either one of Onyeka and Onyedika will most likely start to provide the steel.

Alex Iwobi in action for Nigeria

Both Onyeka and Onyedika started in Nigeria's last game, a 3-2 win against Mozambique but that was a friendly game, Peseiro has to think this through as it is not only a competitive game but also a World Cup qualifier.

The Fulham star is the most creative player in Nigeria's midfield so he should get to start along with a solid defensive midfielder for balance.

Are Victor Osimhen's boots too big to fill?

Super Eagles' talisman and highest-scoring active player Victor Osimhen will not be involved in these first two World Cup qualifiers as he is currently injured.

Victor Osimhen in action against Saudi Arabia || Credit: X

This is not as worrying as it should be for the Super Eagles though as there is an abundance of quality strikers who can fill in although none of the others can say they're the eighth-best player in the world.

Peseiro has in recent times preferred to play two strikers with the two Victors leading the line but with Osimhen missing, who partners Bonficace for the next two games?

Nottingham Forest striker Taiwo Awoniyi is in good goalscoring form but might not be a good fit to partner Boniface because of their similar styles.

The only other out-and-out striker in the current squad is Terem Moffi who is on a two-month goal drought, leaving Kelechi Iheanacho as the best option.

Iheanacho's dynamism could give Peseiro an advantage as he possesses the ability to also drop into the midfield as a number 10, switching between 4-2-1-3 and 4-4-2 formations at will.

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