Gernot Rohr will use Monday’s match against Congo to get a better look at some of the players on the fringe of selection for the 2018 World Cup. He explained “Some of our players I have to see, especially Simeon and Lokosa”. Both have been selected in the starting eleven on Monday and will look to impress. Rohr said “Simy is 50-50 to go to the World Cup”. Rohr is expected to cut five players from the squad before they fly out to London later this week. Simon Moses has already been ruled out which leaves another four players to be dropped.
Both Simeon Nwankwo and Lokosa have been in superb goal scoring form domestically. Simy scored seven goals for Crotone in Serie A with six of those goals coming in his last eight games. Lokosa scored 18 goals for Kano Pillars which tops the NPFL. He was the first player ever to net 16 goals at the halfway point of the season. Both will look to impress on Monday for their chance to be on the plane to Russia.
Whilst Congo have a few familiar faces in Benik Afobe, Arthur Masuaku, Assombalonga and Mbemba. Nigeria have superior quality all over the pitch. However, we expect this to be a a tough game for The Super Eagles with the squad rotation from Rohr. If Simeon and Lokosa find the step up to International football too much Nigeria still have a lot of quality on the bench to bring on and change the game.
After suffering a 2-0 defeat against Serbia in their last friendly it will be important for them to win Monday’s game. Nigeria need to take a winning mentality into the World Cup as they face a tough group with Argentina, Croatia and Iceland.
Congo have lost three of their last five away games but scored in two of those losses. They have also lost their last six straight friendlies however and this could provide a good spot for Nigeria to pick up a confidence boosting win before Saturday’s game against England.
HEAD TO HEAD
These two sides have played two friendlies before with the spoils shared. However they were back in 2010 where the Super Eagles won 5-2 and 2015 where Congo got revenge in a 2-0 victory. (Source)