Rohr’s Headache?: Bench Warmers Ahead Super Eagles – Libya Clashes

Rohr’s Headache?: Bench Warmers  Ahead Super Eagles – Libya Clashes

Ahead of the October’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying double-header between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and Libya, Completesportsnigeria.com’s ADEBOYE AMOSU highlights five players Gernot Rohr could be relying on to help steer the team to the top of Group E but who have struggled to secure regular playing time at their respective clubs so far this season…



The versatile defender played in all three games for the Super Eagles at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. His impressive showing at the mundial must have convinced the Spanish side, Leganes to go all out for his services despite interest from other clubs.

The 24-year-old defender is however yet to make his debut for Leganes since he joined on a season long loan deal from Chelsea.



Bryan Idowu has struggled to earn a starting berth in the Locomotiv Moscow team following his move from Amkar Perm this summer. Though he has made two appearances for the club in the Russian Super Cup and the Champions League, he is yet to feature in a league game after eight rounds.



Leon Balogun is another of Gernot Rohr’s trusted lieutenantsl who has struggled to pin down regular shirt at his Premier League club, Brighton & Hove Albion. The Eagles’ dependable centre-back has made two appearances for the club this season following his free transfer from German club, FSV Mainz.



The young goalkeeper has failed to displace Jose Juan Figueras as number one choice at Spanish Segunda B outfit, Elche.

Uzoho, who was Nigeria’s first choice goalkeeper at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia is yet to make a league appearance for Elche. His only appearance came in the club’s Copa Del Rey win against Granada.



Awaziem who started at right-back in Nigeria’s last 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying fixture against Seychelles is yet to make an appearance for Portuguese side, FC Porto this season.

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  • Edoman of New Jersey, USA 3 years ago

    This is real headache for Rohr as most of the above mentioned players are good. There is no easy substitute for these players at this time. But, everything being equal, Libya is not a threat especially playing at home at Uyo.

  • Ayphillydegreat 3 years ago

    I expect all five of them to make the list. With the exception who hasn’t really made any matchday squad so far this season, the rest have always made the bench. Which means they’re fit and training regularly with the first team of their respective clubs. However, if both Aina and Collins are available I don’t think Idowu is needed in this team. It’s quite hilarious that all of them are on the defensive side while our attackers are mostly flourishing. Well lets see who makes the list first.

  • _ Bench-warming Palaver _

    For all intents and purposes, the Coach of our darling Super Eagles of Nigeria, Mr. Gernot Rohr, would by now, more or less, have made up his mind about his starting 11 for the crucial mouthwatering eagerly anticipated winner-takes-all back to back 2019 AFCON qualifier against Libya in October.

    Though he has apologised, many Nigerian fans, in their hearts of hearts, have refused to forgive the Libyan coach, Mr. Adel Amrouche, for his infamous press conference to which he came out and said: “I am ready for Nigeria, if they want to play two times in Nigeria, we play two times in Nigeria.

    They believe on juju too much, and we believe on God.”

    Naija fans are hoping, and praying, that coach Rohr makes that man eat those words to which he later apologized and claimed to have made in jest.

    The joke will be on him!

    Back to team selection, it is a conundrum.

    Should coach Rohr ditch players who already know and buy into his philosophy and strategy just because they are bench-warming and gamble on fringe players not in his inner-cycle for crucial matches?

    I don’t think bench-warming is the most important factor to the coach;the fact these players are making “match-day squads” signalls their readiness to be called upon when required for their clubs at short notice.

    Bench-warmer Daniel Sturridge scored for Liverpool in the Champions League while bench-warmer Isaac Success scored twice for Watford against mighty Tottenham Hotspur.

    Rohr would be expected to have sleepless nights if these players are nowhere to be found in match-day squad team lists week after week.

    I also suspect that once in camp, he will put the players through their paces and drop those that struggle.

    It’s never heartwarming to see players who are folcrums of your beloved national team languishing in club benches however a distinction has to be made between bench-warming and total failure to make match day squads.

  • Ikeben 3 years ago

    No problems, we have enough options. Even though I believe they should all make the list.
    But my preferred back 4 is

    Collins, Ekong, Balogun,Aina.
    With any of Omeruo, Ajayi and Idowu, depending on the formation.

    So no shaking

  • Ikeben 3 years ago

    With any of Omeruo, Ajayi and Awaziem depending on the formation.