The home-based Super Eagles under coach Salisu Yusuf will be going all out for goals with a new 4-4-2 formation so as to turn the table against Benin on Saturday and qualify for next year’s CHAN in Kenya.
Nigeria lost the first game in Cotonou 1-0 courtesy of a late penalty goal.
Yusuf will now favour a more attacking formation of 4-4-2 as against his more favoured 4-2-3-1 formation, which he used in the first leg playoff in Benin.
The coach used this formation in yesterday’s friendly against Kano Pillars, which his team won 1-0, and he will stick with it on Saturday.
The new formation means one of two defensive midfielders will be sacrificed for a more attacking midfielder and it is now looking very much like Akwa United defensive midfielder Ifeanyi Ifeanyi will give way to more attacking Samuel Matthias, who has netted a dozen goals for El Kanemi Warriors this season.
Afeez Aremu appears to be the more preferred defensive midfielder and he also started against Pillars on Wednesday.
Leading scorers in the NPFL, Stephen Odey and Alhassan Ibrahim ‘Muazzam’, will play on the flanks to compliment a strike force of Kingsley Eduwo and Rabiu Ali.
Thomas Zenke and Sikiru Olatunbosun will therefore lose their first-team places after they started in the first leg in Benin.
The other change from the starting XI in Cotonou will be Akwa United defender Emmanuel Ariwachukwu in for suspended Kalu Orji in central defence.