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    Thursday, 6 August 2015




     Every Nigerian is expecting a total overhaul of the Super Eagles team since new coach Sunday Oliseh was appointed as the national team's coach . So , Allwell Okpi of Punch Newspaper profiles some players the coach may invite based on the criteria he has laid out . Do you think this team is strong enough ? Read it below :

    Jordon Ibe
    Liverpool winger Jordon Ibe is one of the very few Nigerian players who are currently influential in the first team of European giants. Ibe, was recalled from Derby Country, where he was on a season-long loan in January 2015 after scoring five goals in 24 appearances. The 19-year-old, who was born in London to Nigerian parents, has represented England at the U-18 and U-19 levels. He may play for Nigeria if Oliseh succeeds in convincing him.


    Alex Iwobi
    Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi is another Nigerian youngster who is proving his mettle in England. The Nigeria Football Federation has already applied to FIFA for a nationality switch for the 19-year-old forward, who captains the Gunners’ U21s and has played for English youth teams. After winning the Barclays Asia Trophy in Singapore, Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, described Iwobi’s contributions as impressive.

    Chuba Akpom
    Wenger was also full of praise for 19-year-old Chuba Akpom, who scored a hat trick in their semifinal 4-0 defeat of Singapore Select XI at the Barclays Asia Trophy and gave an indication that Akpom would be rewarded with a first team role in the Emirate Cup, and perhaps the English Premier League.

    Kelechi Iheanacho
    After a disappointing FIFA U-20 World Cup, Kelechi Iheanacho showed his potential when he provided an assist for debutant Raheem Sterling and scored a goal in Manchester City’s win over AS Roma in the International Champions Cup in Melbourne, Australia on Tuesday. Coach Manuel Pelegrini praised Iheanacho, an indication the 18-year-old may get a chance in City’s first team in no distant time or may be loaned out soon to a club where he could play regular top flight football. It remains to be seen if Oliseh would have enough confidence in him to give him a role in Nigeria’s senior team.

    Mikel Obi
    Twenty-eight-year-old Mikel Obi has not been very impressive for Chelsea and the Super Eagles lately. He featured only in 18 games in the EPL last season and mostly as a substitute. However, remaining a player of the English champions makes him eminently qualified for Oliseh’s team.

    Odion Ighalo
    Continuing his impressive form of last season, in which he scored 20 goals in 35 games for Watford; Odion Ighalo has scored six goals in four pre-season games. With Watford set for the EPL this season Ighalo has a chance to compete for the top spot in the scorers’ chart of the world’s most popular league. Also, there are speculations that Aston Villa are interested in signing him as replacement for Christian Benteke.

    Elderson Echiejile
    AS Monaco defender, Elderson Echiejile was the only Nigerian player that reached the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League last season. The 27-year-old, who is one of very few Nigerian defenders playing top flight football in Europe, also helped Monaco finish third in Ligue 1.

    Obafemi Martins
    Since Oliseh will not restrict his search to Europe, 30-year-old Obafemi Martins may make a stunning comeback to the Eagles. Though slower now than he was about 10 years ago when he debuted for the Eagles, Martins is still one of the fastest, most prolific and experienced Nigerian strikers. He had a very successful 2014 season for the US Major League Soccer side Settle Sounders FC, where he has netted 32 goals in 62 appearances since 2013. Martins was voted as one of the top three MLS Most Valuable Players. He was also named in the MLS Best XI and won the Goal of the Year award.

    Vincent Enyeama
    If there is any player, who is sure of retaining his position in the Super Eagles, it is captain and goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama. The 32-year-old Lille goalkeeper will remain Nigeria number one goalkeeper.

    Moses Simon
    Twenty-year-old winger Moses Simon is one of the Flying Eagles players with the prospects of earning a shirt in the new Eagles. Simon not only helped his club Gent win the Belgian league title, scoring seven goals and providing four assists in 19 appearances, he also made the Belgian Team of the Year.

    Taiwo Awoniyi
    Having earned a reputation of a reliable goal poacher both at the U-17 and the U-20 levels, many expect Taiwo Awoniyi to sign for a top European club, when he turns 18 in August, and also to take his goal-scoring form to the senior level.

    Anthony Ujah
    Another in-form Nigerian forward is Anthony Ujah. The 24-year-old was impressive for German Bundesliga side Werder Bremen last Saturday when he netted a goal in his side’s 4-0 thrashing of Austrian champions Salzburg in the Audi Quattro Cup. His consistency would make it difficult for Oliseh to ignore him.

    Ahmed Musa
    One of Eagles most committed forwards, Ahmed Musa started the new season on a good note scoring CSKA Moscow’s lone goal as they beat rivals Rubin Kazan 1-0 last Saturday in one of the Russia Premier League openers. That goal may have put him in a better position to be selected for Oliseh’s strike force.

    Leon Balogun
    Born to a Nigerian father and German mother, Leon Balogun has already had four caps with the Eagles. The 27-year-old has played for different clubs in German Bundesliga since 2009 and currently defends for FSV Mainz 05.

    Joel Obi
    Having completed a move for 2.4 million Euros on July 2 to Serie A side Torino from Inter Milan on a four-year contract, midfielder Joel Obi has a good chance of earning a call up to the Eagles.

    Rabiu Ibrahim
    Twenty-four year old, Rabiu Ibrahim, who was touted as the next Jay-Jay Okocha in Nigeria’s midfield,was one of the new faces in the Eagles squad that beat Chad 2-0 in Kaduna in June. Having played for clubs like PSV, Sporting Lisbon and Celtic, scored in the final as his current AS Trencin defeated FK Senica to win the Slovakia Cup in May.

    Kingsely Madu
    Ibrahim’s teammate at the AS Trencin, Kingsely Madu may also be considered. Madu, a left-back, featured 26 times for the Slovakian top flight side last season and was influential in their defence.

    Osaze Odewingie
    After being out of play on injuries for about half of last season, Osaze Odewingie seems to be back in form. He had a good showing for Stoke City at the Barclays Asia Trophy. Oliseh may count on the experience of the 34-year-old winger.

    Victor Moses
    For Victor Moses, who played for Stoke last season on loan, there is uncertainty over the role he would play next season in Chelsea this season. There are speculations he may be offered to Everton in exchange for John Stones. However, head or tail, 24-year-old Moses will most likely remain in the English top flight and merit a place in the Eagles.

    Brown Ideye
    Another Nigerian player, whose form has been up and down in the EPL is Brown Ideye of West Bromwich Albion. After failing to impress in the first six months after he made headlines as the Baggies record £10m signing from Dynamo Kiev, the 26-year-old picked up in the first quarter of this year, firing as many as five goals in eight matches but was out of play towards the end of last season due to injuries. His pre-season form is an indication he might be an influential player next season.

    Ikechukwu Uche
    Until recently, Ikechukwu Uche was the only Nigerian featuring in the first team of a club in the Spanish La Liga – Villarreal, where he scored 33 goals in 85 appearances. He recently completed a move to a Mexican top flight side Tigres UANL. The 31-year-old striker, who was not favoured by Keshi may get a chance under Oliseh.

    Ogenyi Onazi
    After serving his two-match ban by CAF for his violent conduct during the 2017 AFCON qualifying match against Chad, Lazio midfielder Ogenyi Onazi would likely find a place in the new order.

    Kunle Odunlami
    Sunshine Stars defender Kunle Odunlami is one of the home-based options for the Eagles defence. The 24-year-old, who recently failed to complete a move to Moroccan giants Raja Casablanca, has already played 11 times for the Eagles under Keshi and has what it takes to retain his role.

    Gbolahan Salami
    Twenty-four year-old Gbolahan Salami, who scored Nigeria’s first goal in the match against Chad, has been consistent upfront for his Nigerian top flight side Warri Wolves. He may have got Oliseh’s attention.

    Ikechukwu Ezenwa
    Goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa has been quite instrumental to Sunshine Stars performance this season. The Akure club is currently on the top of the Nigeria Professional Football League table.

    Apart from these 25 players, there are some other players, who are qualified based on Oliseh’s broad criteria. However, other factors such as style of play, commitment to the team, discipline, ability to work with teammates and maybe, age, will determine who and who Oliseh will use.

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