Nigeria have battled to find a consistent formation over the last year, top heavy with pace on the wings but not much guile coming through the middle. In effect, Mikel has played as their lead midfielder, in playmaker role that exposes his lack of pace.

Nigeria have a surplus of defensive midfielder but no one who can operate effectively behind the front two and also initiate attacks down the flanks. Odemwingie has also been tried in that role but is much more effective coming in from the flank. Obasi can be expected to make some impact down the right hand side and upfront Martins and Yakubu have both pace an power.

Holding role
Mikel’s fitness is in doubt before the World Cup but Etuhu and Olofinjana, both from the English premier league, have plenty of experience in the holding role. Yobo is the mainstay of the defence with Taiwo a deadly weapon on the overlap and also at set pieces.

Right-back is still a position to be settled. Uche is a possible impact player off the bench and Kanu is reserved these days for cameo roles late in the game too, where he still has the footwork to create limited havoc.

Team – 4-1-3-2
Enyeama; Apam, Yobo, Nwaneri, Taiwo; Etuhu; Obasi, Mikel, Odemwingie; Martins Yakubu.

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