The Super Eagles shed sweat and blood before claiming a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Benin in Uyo on Wednesday but two stars particularly impressed the Super Eagles coach.
German tactician Gernot Rohr has hailed the impact of Torino defender Ola Aina and Bordeaux winger Samuel Kalu in Nigeria’s comeback win over the Squirrels at the Akwa Ibom Stadium.
Aina was preferred at right back ahead of Chidozie Awaziem and Abdullahi Shehu and the former Chelsea Academy graduate justified his inclusion in the starting eleven by winning the penalty that Osimhen put away for the Super Eagles’ equalizer following a shocking Stephane Sessegnon opener for the visitors.
However, Samuel Kalu emerged as the hero of the day by grabbing the all important winning goal just past the hour mark after dribbling past a clutch of Benin defenders.
The duo’s efforts did not go unnoticed by Gernot Rohr who was pleased with his decision to hand them both starting shirts.
”I am happy to see also that the two changes I made since the Brazil game, bringing in Ola Aina and Kalu, the two players did very well also,” Rohr told reporters, including Soccernet.ng, at a post-match press conference.
”It is good for the team to know that even other players can come, there’s competition for the starting positions and this is very good for us.”
Nigeria will need both players, and indeed the whole squad, to be at their very best when they travel to face Lesotho in the second match of the 2021 AFCON qualifying campaign.