Gernot Rohr was emphatic on the issue about Ighalo's recall by inviting the incumbent Afcon highest goals scorer to the squad for November world cup qualifiers.
It was always going to be a controversial invitation, one that generated heated talking points prior to the current squad release and sure to sustain the conversations way into the future (regardless of how well Ighalo justifies his selection).
Taiwo Awoniyi (who has continued to take defences to the cleaners with glorious goals in Germany after the last set of qualifiers) would be feeling hard done by to have been jettisoned for Ighalo. Should Ighalo play well, Awoniyi’s next Super Eagles invitation is anyone’s guess.
Aside the Ighalo soap opera,the list itself threw up few surprises as Rohr stuck with his tried and tested Generals. Having said that, a bevy of Super Eagles supporters are left dismayed and disappointed by certain exclusions.
For instance, Ebuehi who plays in Italy appears more deserving of an invitation compared to Shehu who plays in Cyprus. Dennis Bonaventure continues to be kept out in the cold despite headline-grabbing performances in England whilst another opportunity to cap-tie Rangers’ left back Calvin Bassey has been shunned.
In all, I think it is a killer squad. You have Ighalo’s experience complementing Osihmen’s youth and exuberance up front with Iwobi making a return to add creativity to the midfield which will be shored up by the discipline of Onyeka, the poise of Aribo and the solidity of Ndidi.
At the back, the recently rejuvenated Oyinbo wall have the capable support, class and finesse of the likes Aina and Akpoguma as fullbacks whilst not leaving out the guile and versatility of Awaziem.
Okoye, who has been in inspired form in club football recently, would want to be in post for both games so he will arrive on time to camp. If not, Uzoho (whose low drive save in the Uefa conference league competition was recognised and acknowledged by Uefa on a twitter montage recently) is waiting on the wings to profit and slowly claim back his shirt.
I am very much excited about this squad. I think it is a healthy mixture of youth and experience across all departments with tried, tested and proven big game players and game changers. Those excluded players will only have to wait for their time to come. Gernot Rohr has made a huge call and edged his bet on rehashing methods and personnel that worked for him in the past.
Not to forget, Coach Salisu Yusuf will be back in the Super Eagles dugout for the first time since being reinstated after serving his punishment for bribery scandal.
The future looks bright as Rohr should now be in more familiar territory