Against Algeria Tuesday in Oran, the experience and tactical prowess of Kevin Akpoguma should give him the edge as the new leader of the Super Eagles defence in the absence of injured William Ekong.
Kenneth Omeruo is past his best and that is why he languishes in the Spanish lower league, Chidozie Awaziem’s career has stagnated, while Valentine Ozornwafor has yet to convince even three years after he moved overseas.
A combination of Akpoguma and Ajax recent signing Calvin Bassey in the heart of the back four should keep things tight Tuesday night particularly as the team’s goalkeeping has again under serious fire.
Former Germany U20 skipper Akpoguma has featured in the German Bundesliga since 2017.
This season, he has played in all seven Bundesliga games for Hoffenheim, who are fourth in the standings.
His time with the Super Eagles has mainly been hampered by injuries and having to be played as a fullback by Gernot Rohr even though he is a central defender by trade.
At 27, he will be the old head in the heart of the defence with the athletic but raw Bassey (he caused the penalty against Algeria B Friday) adding the physicality to keep out Algeria in front of packed stadium.
It could well be the needed change for the Super Eagles as the ‘Oyibo Wall’ of Ekong and Leon Balogun has crumbled.