The B team of the senior national team of Nigeria are through to the quarter-finals of the ongoing African Nations Championship in Morocco, where they will take on Namibia.
Yesterday they confirmed their status as group winners after beating Equatorial Guinea 3-1 and results elsewhere, specifically the game between Libya and Rwanda went their way.
After three games at the tournament, Owngoalnigeria.com Osas Mahawi picks the five players who have so far distinguished themselves for Nigeria at the tournament.
The goto man of the team, full of energy, invention and skills. His pace is also another weapon which he has used to good effect in the three games played by the team so far.
However, the rough edges are still very evident in his game particularly his decision making in the final third and also his eagerness to impress. That said he was one the bright sparks for Nigeria during the group stages.
Osas Okoro :
Not many people will appreciate his contribution so far but he looks like the surest route for Nigeria in attack despite his role as a right full back.
Okoro who has played as a forward for most of his career, has so far been brilliant in combinig his primary job of keeping it tight at the back with forays upfront to join the attack.
His delivery from set pieces have also caught the eye, although his marking still appears suspect. Overall his positives outweighs his negatives during the group stages.
Stephen Eze :
The Lokomotiv Plovdiv bound giant central defender has been a tower of strength for Nigeria at the back. Dominant in the air and now more at home using his legs than few years ago.
He has also displayed a fine reading of play, which has helped him make interceptions and also times his tackles to perfection. Not the quickest but his smart positioning when under pressure means his pace was hardly exposed during the games of the group stages.
Bar his abilities to hit the ball with power and precision which lead to the screamer he scored yesterday. His ability to cover spaces for his team in defence and attack have caught the eyes.
Strong in duels, Ojo even though he started just one game has been the team main man in making the transition from defence to attack whenever he is in possession during their group games.
One player who isn’t getting enough credit for his input so far, but in the three games Nigeria played in the group stage. He gave them balance in defence and put in a commendable shift in attack.
Fast, and not afraid to take on his man. He has also used his height and body strength to good ability for the team. Appears to be the player who covered the most ground for Nigeria in the three group games they played.