Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr has intensified his efforts to land versatile Russian-born full back Brian Idowu ahead of the Super Eagles’ Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying double-header against their eternal rivals Cameroon.
Nigeria host the Indomitable Lions in the first leg qualifier in Uyo on August 28, with the Gabon 2017 Africa Cup of Nations favourites receiving the Eagles in the reverse fixture in Limbe on September 2.
The Eagles face Senegal’s Terranga Lions in a friendly affair in London in March before taking on South Africa in a Cameroon 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in the same month.
Rohr had hinted that the Senegal friendly would offer him a chance to blood new players, particularly Europe-born players of Nigerian descent, in a bid to fortify his team ahead of the South Africa and Cameroon clashes.
Our correspondent learnt that 24-year-old Amkar Perm left-back Idowu, who can play at centre-half or right-back, features high on the list of Rohr’s Europe-born targets.
The Nigeria boss, who is currently working as a pundit for French TV station BeIN at Gabon 2017, is said to have put the Nigeria Football Federation under pressure to resolve the immigration challenges the player is reportedly facing in his effort to commit his international allegiance to the Eagles.
It was learnt that the German decided to revive his interest in the player he could not secure his services for the World Cup qualifier against Algeria in Uyo on November 12, 2016 due to immigration issues after watching Cameroon’s matches in Gabon.
The Indomitable Lions have switched between a 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 formation in Gabon, with Denmark-based Christian Bassogog posing a big threat on the counter-attack.
And Rohr, who sees the Aalborg’s rising star as a potent weapon in Cameroon’s arsenal against the Eagles, believes a physical defender that has blazing speed is the solution to the Indomitable Lions’ foray forward through Bassogog and on-loan Marseille winger Clinton Njie.
With Dutch-born Ado Den Haag right-back Tyronne Ebuehi already pledging his international allegiance to Nigeria, the Eagles manager wants to go a step further by getting Idowu to shore up his defence before facing Cameroon.
According to sources, the former Gabon coach is not happy that the process of getting the player a Nigerian passport has been very slow.