The Super Eagles are set to go again as the qualifiers for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations resumes. The Eagles are already on the back foot after losing to South Africa 2-0 in Uyo last June.
After two losses at the World Cup, the team needs to pick up momentum again and that must happen without the services of some players, especially these three.
Since making his debut for the Super Eagles on March 25, 2015 Ighalo has played 20 matches and scored just four times, his last goal coming against Cameroon on September 1, 2017 in a 2018 World Cup qualifier.
An average of one goal every five matches is one that won’t help the national team. Some will argue that he is on fire for Changchun Yatai in the Chinese Super League where the 29-year-old has scored 15 goals in 19 league games; but he has never been prolific for the Eagles, whenever he has had the chance.
His exclusion would also be about taking him out of the firing line after being trolled on social media after his glaring misses against Argentina.
The 30-year-old left back has paid his dues and he got his reward with a place in the 23-man squad to Russia 2018. At this moment, it should be bye-bye.
Without a club, though training at Monaco, having spent almost eight years in the national team for 59 caps and three goals, Echiejile won the 2013 Nations Cup – his time in the team is over.
A very contentious addition to the list but his no-show in Russia even when the Super Eagles were in trouble showed that despite his strong showings whenever he forced his way into the team, Rohr’s selections have shown over time that he has never fancied the hulking midfielder.
Therefore, instead of continuing to call him and play him in inconsequential friendlies, Rohr will do well to leave him out and afford the space to another player suitable for his game plan. The Hapoel Beer Sheva central midfielder should be accorded the respect due him for his service of 19 caps and two goals to concentrate on his club career at 30.
I have made this suggestion on the premise that Gernot Rohr is building a team for the future and he needs to look for the replacements for the above-mentioned players. Not that they are not good players but age is longer on their side, added to the fact they have not been standout members of the team. Victor Moses has resigned and many are expecting John Obi Mikel to follow suit.
The Eagles will travel to Seychelles on Matchday 2 of the qualifying series on September 7, and afterward will host Libya’s Mediterranean Knights in Kaduna on Match day 3 on October 9.