The midfield positions in the Super Eagles are some of the most important in the team. Coach Gernot Rohr has tried out a number of combinations so far the most recent being Joe Aribo, Oghenekaro Etebo and Alex Iwobi in the last match against Ukraine.
The trio had a decent game and perhaps fans will love to see them play together again. With the retirement of former captain John Mikel Obi and the uncertainty that the likes of John Ogu and Ogenyi Onazi will return to the team, it leaves the midfield department short of options. One of the players Rorh has brought in to plug this gap is Anderson Esiti.
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Anderson Esiti is a defensive midfielder who plays for PAOK FC in the Greek Super League. He featured for the Eagles against Ukraine in their most recent international friendly. Although he could only get a few minutes under his belt in that game, he is a regular feature for his club and is one of the most important players in the team.
Here are FIVE THINGS you probably did not know about the midfielder:
1. Esiti was born in Warri, South-South Nigeria on the 24th of May, 1994. He began his football career with a football academy known as Bobbies United until he got the chance to move to Europe very early in his career to play for Leixoes in the Portuguese league.
2. Esiti is from a middle class family and recalls how he was supported while playing locally: “I have a good family, they took care of me very well and it was ok, it wasn’t a big life but it was a normal life.” Before moving to Europe, he didn’t have the opportunity of playing with football boots. “I wasn’t using boots, I just started using boots about three years before I came to Europe. So it was a very good evolution for me.”
3. Anderson Esiti played for clubs in Europe like Leixoes and Estoril in the Portuguese league before joining Genk in Belgium in 2016 where he made 77 league appearances. POAK signed the Nigerian midfielder from Gent for 3.5 million Euros in the summer of 2019. On why he joined the Greek club, he says: “After the game I played against them in Holland, that was two years ago, I received a lot of messages on Instagram – fans telling me and urging me to come over to PAOK. So when they called me and indicated their interest, I told my agent, it was a club I wanted to play for.”
4. Esiti had actually been called up to the Super Eagles twice before the Ukraine game. Former coach, Sunday Oliseh, invited him for matches against Chad (game was cancelled eventually) in 2015 and Zambia. As regards his style of play; he says: “I am physical, so one of my biggest qualities is to win the ball for the team and create attacks for the team…It is the way I am, it’s not because I want to injure people, it is what God gave to me, so I use it to my best capacity.” No wonder some of his former teammates nicknamed him “The Rock” and “The Avenger”.
5. His role models are Tottenham Hotspurs’ Victor Wanyama and former Manchester City and Barcelona midfielder, Yaya Toure.