Coach Gernot Rohr has dared the critics by starting goalkeeper Maduka Okoye and defender Kevin Akpoguma for Tuesday’s AFCON rematch against Sierra Leone despite calls by fans they be dropped after the team’s monumental collapse on Friday in Benin City.
Surprisingly, the Super Eagles coach has also dropped FC Porto leftback Zaidu Sanusi to the bench.
Okoye let in the four goals scored by the Leone Stars last week with two of them blamed directly to him, while Akpoguma did not exactly cover himself in glory at rightback.
Rohr has since come to the defence of Hoffenhem ace Akpoguma, saying his aerial prowess and physicality earned him a starting shirt ahead of Ola Aina and Tyronne Ebuehi.
Kelechi Iheanacho has also been considered ahead of Paul Onuachu to lead the Eagles attack with Ahmed Musa and Samuel Chukwueze the two wingers.
Otherwise, the starting XI from the Benin City debacle keep their places for this decisive AFCON qualifier.
A win on Tuesday in Freetown will guarantee Nigeria passage to the AFCON in Cameroon in 2022