Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr has drawn up a list of 25 players to play against the Etalons of Burkina Faso and Teranga Lions of Senegal at Barnet’s home ground, The Hive in England. This list which includes 3 goalkeepers, 10 defenders, 4 midfielders and 8 attackers have come under scrutiny from fans of our local football who believe outfield players from our elite league, the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), deserve a place in the team too, especially in the midfield where just 4 midfielders were invited.
- Iheanacho, Moses, Iwobi invited for Senegal & Burkina Faso friendlies; No Mikel & other Chinese league players
There are definitely good midfield players in the NPFL to provide enough quality to the team. Of all 25 players invited, it is only Ikechukwu Ezenwa, who has always been in the team, that is the only representative of the NPFL and this really calls for a serious assessment.
From the numerical massiveness of the number of defenders invited by the Franco-German manager, it is obvious he is trying to use these friendly games to improve the team’s shaky defense and fine tune preparations for our double-header against the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon who are really on a high after winning the 2017 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) title in Gabon early this year. Tyrone Ebuehi is the newest addition to the team to shore up the team’s left-back position.
Granada’s Uche Agbo, Alanyaspor’s Kenneth Omeruo and Porto’s Chidozie Awaziem have been invited to provide stiff competition for the regular and gelling duo of Belgium-based William Troost-Ekong and Mainz 05’s Leon Balogun. There is a good presence of youth in the team and competition for places is set to be rife but adding one or two outfield players from the NPFL would have done enough justice to the hard work every stakeholder in promoting the game locally is putting in, yet not destabilise the coach’s team outlook. Many players are performing brilliantly in the league and some have proven consistent enough to deserve a place in the team but the coach, who’s been combing the world for new additions knows what his team needs and knows where to get that from.
Opportunities for the NPFL players will still come and one should remember, the China-based trio of Brown Ideye, Mikel Obi and Odion Ighalo have been left out for reasons yet to be communicated by the coach and in-form and much sought-after winger, Henry Onyekuru has been snubbed too. There are still many games to be played and the coach has a large pool of players to pick from at every point in time and is still trying to create a chemistry baring in mind the good start he’s had thus far. These are indeed good times for Nigerian football as local-based stars have proven to be harbingers of enough quality to make the Super Eagles a better team and one, who will continue with its massive improvement and give the foreign legion a good run for their money.
Be that as it may, it should be remembered that the ball is always in Gernot Rohr’s court and he absolutely has the final say over who he wants to play at different periods. For that, let’s give him our full support and watch him continue his excellent turnaround and expect him to offer our NPFL top performers chances to impress too.