Futbalgalore.com takes a look at who will take on specific roles for Nigeria in Russia such as free kick taker, and most likely to take a penalty in a shoot-out.
In 2016, Ahmed Musa took over the armband from Vincent Enyeama. The switch was made by former gaffer Sunday Oliseh. But caretaker coach, Samson Siasia handed the band to Mikel. The Tianjin Teda star is undoubtedly a terrific captain; he is world class, he is a well-liked team player, and he works hard, however, does he have the same compassion and reputation on the international stage as Enyeama does? Mikel should do just fine captaining the Eagles.
This role belongs to Ogenyi Onazi. He is a team player and a leader on and off the pitch. Onazi is another player who is striven with a passion while playing for his country, and the younger players will look to him for guidance.
Depending on the side and position of the field the ball lies, the free kicks will most likely be taken by one of three players. On the left side of the field, Victor Moses will take his chances. On the right side of the field, most likely Mikel will have a crack at it, however Alex Iwobi will fancy his chances as well. Exceptions could be: Long free kick (shot): Onazi is known to be able to fire a ball into the back of the net from far away. Also, Wilfred Ndidi can strike a ball sweetly.
Usually this role is for left footed players, to deliver an in-swinger. Both Moses or Mikel could take it, however, Odion Ighalo is the bigger aerial threat in the box and therefore Moses will be taking the majority of the corners.
This corner is usually taken by right footed players to deliver the in-swinger as well. Expect to see Brian Idowu taking the majority of these.
The man to take the penalty if he is on the field is definitely Moses. His conversion rate from the spot is exceptional for Nigeria. Should Moses not be available to take the penalty, Mikel, Onazi, Kelechi Iheanacho, or Ighalo will be willing to step up to the spot.
Top 5 for shootout:
In the case of a penalty shoot-out, the Eagles do possess a wealth of good penalty takers. In no order, depending whose on the field, these players will most likely be called upon to slot one home for their country: Moses, Mikel, Onazi, Ahmed Musa and Shehu Abdullahi. All of these players in their career have been established penalty kick takers for one of their clubs.
Best Dribbler: Victor Moses
Best Finisher: Kelechi Iheanacho or Odion Ighalo
Best Tackler: Wilfred Ndidi
Strongest Player: William Troost Ekong
Best Passer: John Obi Mikel
Best Stamina: Wilfred Ndidi or Leon Balogun
Best in the Air: Leon Balogun
Best tricks/moves: Victor Moses