Esiti staking a claim for start against Zambia

Estoril's Nigerian midfielder Anderson Esiti (L) vies with Porto's Algerian midfielder Yacine Brahimi during the Portuguese league football match FC Porto vs GD Estoril Praia at the Dragao stadium in Porto on August 29, 2015.  AFP PHOTO/ FRANCISCO LEONG

Belgium-based midfielder Anderson Esiti has staked a claim for a starting place in Nigeria’s squad for this weekend’s 2018 World Cup qualifier against Zambia with a confident display in a practice match played on Wednesday.

The Super Eagles are set for the opening weekend of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers and played a test game with local side Plateau United at the Abuja National Stadium on Wednesday, with Esiti capping an impressive display with a goal.

The KAA Gent of Belgium midfielder played the first 45 minutes along with several other fringe members of the team, and even though it was an underwhelming display by the former African champions, Esiti was only one of two players who truly distinguished themselves on the day, the other being Nosa Igiebor.

The 22-year old Esiti’s all action style was handful for the Plateau midfielders, as they found him unplayable for the most part, and he capped his outing with a 38th minute goal, before Alex Iwobi’s second half brace sealed a 3-0 win.

Esiti is making a return to the team, having made his debut under Stephen Keshi in a 2-0 win over Chad in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in June 2015.

He will however contend with the more established Ogenyi Onazi for a place in the starting eleven in Ndola on Sunday.