Villarreal of Spain winger, Samuel Chukwueze is back into Nigeria’s starting line-up at the Africa Cup of Nations, as he receives another nod from Super Eagles’ coach, Gernot Rohr to line-out against South Africa.
After dazzling on his AFCON debut against Burundi, Chukwueze was benched for the next two Group B matches against Guinea and Madagascar, but got off the bench in the round of 16 against Cameroon, with a telltale impact to show.
Chukwueze’s cameo role in helping the Eagles send Cameroon packing, with a foot from him involved in the winning goal by Alex Iwobi, has now earned the Villarreal youngster a return to Nigeria’s first 11.
It means the Chile 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup gold medalist has another chance to show his mettle, which hogged headlines all through the past season, which was his debut with The Yellow Submarine in La Liga, with a goal against Barcelona being the highlight of his maiden show.
While Chukwueze steps out from the start, fellow-Spain based winger, Moses Simon goes to the bench, as Eagles’ coach, Gernot Rohr kept fate with a 4-3-3 system that turns into a 4-2-3-1 when they are defending.
It also means Rohr has made two changes to the starting lineup, with SC Paderborn of Germany left-back, Jamilu Collins back in the squad and will play his first AFCON game after recovering fully from a groin injury that has kept him out of the team.
Collins takes over from previously 100% minutes man, Ola Aina, who is the only change in the back-four, as William Troost-Ekong, Kenneth Omeruo and Chidozie Awaziem keep their spots in front of Kaizer Chiefs of South Africa goalkeeper, Daniel Akpeyi.
In midfield, Rohr maintains Wilfred Onyinyen Ndidi, Oghenekaro Etebo and Arsenal of England’s Iwobi, who will once again be the playmaker, as skipper of the side, John Mikel Obi sits out again, despite being certified fully fit.
Simon, who started in the win over Cameroon in the round of 16, makes way for Chukwueze, who will operate from the right with Eagles’ stand-in captain, Ahmed Musa on the left and joint top scorer of AFCON 2019, with three goals so far, Odion Jude Ighalo as top striker.
Eagles’ Line-up Versus South Africa: Daniel Akpeyi – Chidozie Awaziem, Jamilu Collins, William Troost-Ekong, Kenneth Omeruo – Wilfred Onyinyen Ndidi, Oghenekaro Etebo, Alex Iwobi – Samuel Chukwueze, Odion Jude Ighalo, Ahmed Musa.