Nigeria have been World Cup regulars since 1994 and have only missed the 2006 event in the years since then. The West African country is one of the more likely African nations to one day topple the European and South American powerhouses. However, up to now, they have frequently fallen short and have never made it past the Round of 16.
In the blistering heat of Qatar, Nigeria may have an advantage over some of their rivals from colder climates. How are the Super Eagles getting on with their preparation for the 2022 tournament?
How do Experts Rate Nigeria’s Chances?
According to bet365, Nigeria World Cup betting odds, England and Spain are among the favorites and can be backed at 8/1 at the time of writing. When it comes to Nigeria, bookies have them as outsiders at around 250/1. However, along with the Ivory Coast, they are one of the two favored African nations.
Nigeria’s head coach, Gernot Rohr, has offered is opinion on why he thinks Nigeria have thus far failed to win the most coveted trophy in football. He believes that the main reason is down to the fact that most of the players are plying their trade outside of the best teams in the world.
What is the Manager’s Approach?
Judging by Rohr’s comments about the lack of players playing for top clubs in the Nigerian national team history, it should come as no surprise that his selections have seen him overlook players based in the country on several occasions. The German doesn’t see the Nigerian Professional Football League as competitive enough and is cautious about selecting players who play here.
While many are unconvinced by Rohr’s credentials as the national team manager, his record has been solid up to now. Since taking over in 2016, the former defender has presided over 58 games with a win percentage of 53.45. Nigeria should have no difficulties in qualifying for the World Cup under the 68-year-old, but the question is whether he is the right tactician to take them deep into the tournament.
Who are the Key Players?
Rohr does have a few stars at his disposal who may be peaking at just the right time. Some of the most notable stars include Everton’s Alex Iwobi, Fatih Karagümrük’s Ahmed Musa, and Leicester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho. Between them, these three make a formidable forward line.
Iheanacho has just had his best season ever for the Foxes, and he seems to be fulfilling his potential under Brendan Rodgers. There is a strong chance that he will be Nigeria’s main man for many years to come. There are a few exciting youngsters as well. Napoli’s Victor Osimhen has earned some call-ups in recent times, as has Watford’s Emmanuel Dennis. These players will certainly add depth to Rohr’s options.
Nigeria’s recent results have been hit and miss, but Rohr’s experience with the players should give him the knowledge he needs to attack the next World Cup. In the heat of Qatar, Nigeria may have the edge over some of their European rivals.