The recent revelation by former Super Eagles forward Odion Ighalo that the lineup for the senior national team of Nigeria in the world cup playoff was changed few minutes to the game has been confirmed.
Ighalo in an interview with Oma Akatugba said the team trained ahead of the game with a lineup that was to start the game and practice a certain style and tactics to use in the game days before the game. According to Ighalo it was changed with less than two hours to the game.
Nigeria ended up drawing the game 1-1 and crashed out on the away goals rule. The country missed out on a spot at the World Cup in Qatar leading to a rebuild and the sacking of the technical crew. Jose Peseiro was appointed to lead the rebuild.
Speaking with another player who was a part of the team shed more light on the starting lineup which he said was altered by then head coach Austine Eguavoen without the knowledge of some of his assistants.
” Ighalo is right. One of the assistants explained to me that I won’t be starting because they want to play in a certain way and formation. I was shocked to hear my name in the starting lineup. I asked the person who spoke with me and he said it’s the decision of the coach”, he told OGN in an exclusive chat.
” The training on the eve of the game was intense and very tactical and around four players who started the game weren’t in the starting lineup during the session. I can tell you the lineup with ease. Francis Uzoho was to start in goal.
” William Troost Ekong, Leon Balogun, Zaidu Sanusi were the back four but somehow Calvin Bassey was picked ahead of Zaidu at left back. The idea was a 4-4-2 formation so four players namely Oghenekaro Etebo, Joe Aribo, Moses Simon and Ahmed Musa. Simon and Musa will operate from the wings but drop down to defend without the ball.
” It changed on matchday with Simon and Musa going out for Emmanuel Dennis and Ademola Lookman while upfront was to be Odion Ighalo and Victor Osimhen. We wanted to score first so playing with a two man attack was agreed but we started with just a man in attack as if we are defending.
” If you notice , all of the players I mentioned were introduced as substitutes in the game and we switched to 4-4-2. That was the original idea but it became plan B overnight. Ighalo didn’t lie”, be rounded up saying.