Victor Moses is retired, Mikel Obi is on an unending sabbatical, and both Odion Ighalo and Francis Uzoho are injured – these four positions are thus crying out to be adequately filled by Super Eagles manager, Gernot Rohr.
“They say as one door closes, another one opens. Probably if Victor Moses was still in the team, Samuel Kalu won’t have been given a chance,” Shehu Dikko, Second Vice-President of the Nigeria Football Federation told online publication, All Nigeria Soccer.
”If Victor Moses decides to come back tomorrow, at least we know we have a backup. Samuel Chukwueze also received an invitation and he’s just 19.
”If Victor Moses was there, those young boys would not have gotten a chance, Chukwueze is in the first team of Villarreal,” Dikko added.
Moses, before his abrupt retirement was often the X-factor for the Eagles, the man for the penalties. But like Dikko alluded to, his retirement has thrust to the fore the likes of Kalu and Chukwueze.
Kalu has played two matches in his nascent international career and scored once. While he looks like a real prospect with the requisite skill set and pace to burn, he seemingly lacks a professional edge and consistency to get into the top echelon of players.
Mikel has been the Eagles’ conductor for almost a decade and the team is having to improvise in his absence. That void will be exacerbated by the enforced absence of Wilfred Ndidi on Saturday and means more fine-tuning and the naming of the right players by Gernot Rohr to fill that position.
Ighalo’s absence is one that will be keenly felt because he has performed creditably in the last two matches. Whilst, it can be argued that the 29-year-old wasn’t at all prolific for the Eagles before his five-goal salvo against Libya, home and away, the Eagles will need goals against South Africa on Saturday and at the moment, there seems to be no adequate fit in the players called up – not on account of talent but purely judged on recent form.
In goal, Enyimba’s No.1, Theophilus Afelokhai, was called up to replace Uzoho just as Chippa United’s No.1, Daniel Akpeyi, will be itching to man the posts in the country where he plays his football. That call by Rohr must be absolutely nailed on, as goalkeepers are often not replaced except they are injured.
But really, that is why Rohr gets the big bucks – let him earn his money against South Africa on Saturday!