Unfortunately, Simy will have to prove himself all over again next season (wherever he finds himself) for him to work his way back to the Super Eagles.
The 28 year old lanky striker scored 19 goals in 33 games in the Italian Serie A this season while providing 2 assists to emerge as the 3rd highest goals scorer in the league behind Lukaku and Ronaldo. My assertion on Simy's Super Eagles chances also holds true for other fringe strikers vying for a slot in the national team. International football resumes in June and runs all the way to November after conclusion of the third round of World Cup qualifiers. For the June assignment, I will be suprised if Rohr jettisons any of his trusted generals for an international football rookie. As a consequence, I will be suprised (but pleased nonetheless) if Simy is included in the squad to face Liberia in June as the current crop of centre forward options for the Super Eagles all finished their respective seasons profitably.
More so, they all delivered the goods for Nigeria in the most recent international assignments. Osimhen can’t be dropped neither can Iheanacho nor Onuachu who were all pivotal in the morale boosting victories of March Afcon qualifiers (unless they are injured). This now leads us neatly to next season. Should Simmy keep up this performance by then, then there will be credible claims for his name to be included in the squad for the Afcon and also participation in the latter stages of the world cup qualifiers. But, these strikers are on fire! In the last 10 years, I don’t think I have witnessed any season where these many Nigerian strikers have painted top flight European leagues green with goals.
This has been quite simply an astonishing season for Nigeria eligible goal getters. And I get the sense that they will not relent, so next season promises to be even more exciting. More so as they will not want to turn out to be one-season-wonders (even though the likes of Simmy and Umar were prolific last season albeit at less competitive leagues). So, I am afraid Simy will have to do it all over again. You have Ike Ugbo, Josh Maja, Terem Moffi, Isaac Success, Taiwo Awoniyi, Chuba Akpom, Tolu Arokodare, Peter Olayinka and Cyriel Dessers all eager with pent up anger just waiting to take next season by storm with the ultimate reward of an invitation letter from the NFF to come and stake their credentials in national team colours. And one thing will give each of them an edge : healthy goals-to-games ratio. The only strikers with an edge are ones currently established in the Super Eagles: Osimhen, Iheanacho, Onuachu and Ahmed Musa (who might well be a centre forward option for the Super Eagles into the future due to his age and years of experience). But even they too have to put their bumper goals harvests of seasons gone by behind them and brace up for breakneck competition for places from June. So, I still feel Simmy’s chances to break into the Super Eagles team remain slim.
If he is scoring and other strikers are doing likewise, Rohr will have to pick those whom he believes can better translate his strategy into results. From recent interviews, the German seems likely to extend an invitation to Ighalo instead of Simmy if the former Watford man rescinds his international retirement and continues to score goals in the gulf. And that line of thought extends to other strikers that he trusts regardless of the league they play so long as their efforts are nestling at the back of nets. It is such a fascinating time to be a Super Eagles supporters. Seeing these many strikers doing well in club football delights the heart every weekend and stirs up healthy debates on invitations to the Super Eagles. All I can say is: long may it continue.
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