Joe Aribo, whose goals and overall sterling performances against Ukraine and Brazil in high profile friendlies this year, has surely endeared himself to Super Eagles fans. Speaking in interview recently on his inspirations for choosing to play for Nigeria, the Rangers man said:”Jay Jay Okocha and even Osaze Odemwingie inspired me and I really enjoyed watching them while growing up.” He enjoyed watching them while he was growing up, we Super Eagles fans have started enjoying watching him play now that he is grown up. And from the evidence of what we have seen thus far, Aribo has the makings of being an inspiration to young players who dream of playing for the Super Eagles ‘when they grow up’. There is no doubt about it: Aribo has been a quality addition to this new look Super Eagles post-2019 Africa Cup of Nations tournament. He has added fluidity, movement, steel credible goal threat and options to our midfield. Being a versatile player, it is even possible that we are yet to see the best of Aribo in Super Eagles colours; now, if scoring against Ukraine and Brazil are not going to be Aribo’s best outings for the Super Eagles, then what is yet to come is a tantalising prospect indeed! Whilst Aribo referenced Okocha, Odewingie and Mikel as players he watched growing up, it was another ex-Nigeria mega star striker Victor Ikpeba who had this to say after Aribo’s heroics against Brazil:”He’s such a wonderful player and I am delighted to see him play quality football for Nigeria. Joe Aribo is an exceptional player and he has shown the Super Eagles technical adviser, Gernot Rohr that he is ready to claim a regular shirt.” Concluded the Crowned Prince of Monaco who has since retired from royal goal scoring duties. For a player aspiring to be like Okocha and co, Aribo is surely on the right path: you can hardly do better than 2 goals against gigantic oppositions in your first 2 international matches. He has taken the position usually manned by Peter Etebo in the national team due to recent absences of the Stoke City midfielder.
When he returns, will Etebo be able to dislodge Aribo from the Super Eagles starting 11? It seems highly unlikely.