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U-23 Olympic Eagles: Poor Squad Selection is The Problem

Imama Amapakabo’s Under 23 Eagles started their quest to qualify for next year's Olympic on an awful note by losing to Ivory Coast yesterday in a match which they played very poorly.

Social media and chat rooms linked to Nigeria supporters have been awashed with views of many disappointed fans.

Afrofooty samples one such view below from a fan who believes that questionable squad selection is becoming a serious problem affecting Nigerias national teams.

The fan writes:

One of the biggest problems today in the various Nigeria squads at all levels: Under 17 right through to the Super eagles is questionable squad selection and dubious first teams. We do not call up all players on merit and often do not field our strongest side. preferring to build players up, often from obscure careers and barren spells over players in form. A few cases in point in this Under 23 squad Bright Enobakhare, a player who has played 2 matches (23 minutes and 25 minutes only) in the 2nd tier of English football, in the case of the Under 20 Henry Offia a player who had not had a single minute of league football all season (at the beginning of the world cup) in the Swedish league.

None of which have scored a goal all season, to spear head a strike force for an important international competition at the expense of options. Further, benching an on form Sunusi Ibrahim (several goals for Nigeria – U23/Wafu/Chan since August and 10 goals in the league this year) the only potent goal scorer in the squad for Bright (who has not played nor scored as many goals since the beginning of the season and only 6 goals last season) and then playing team members out of position (Oknonkwo at CF, Bright on wings) tells me that certain confusion prevailed.

Playing an obviously dubious Ndah whilst benching Ozornwafor produced results – A red card and penalty against us. There is a distinct lack of goals in our strike force, only one (1) player who gives us a threat of goals (Sunusi). The other top striker called up Taiwo Awoniyi does not offer a threat.

He has played a total of 4 matches this season with a combined playing time of less than 90 minutes (87 minutes) and no goals where there are far better options available with the same caveat – only during the FIFA window (misses the first match and the final/3rd place match).

And players whom have played in the qualifying matches for this same competition. David Okereke, Stephen Odey, Dennis Bonaventure, even Victor Osimhen who was drafted to rescue the qualifying bid owing to non performance by same Taiwo.

Then there are others who would produce a stronger threat than Taiwo like Sadiq Umar (10 goals and 8 assists in 22 matches this season), Tosin Aiyegun – FC Zurich (13 goals and 5 assists in 29 matches at Ventspils plus 2 goals and 1 assist in 7 matches for Zurich). The entire squad and team selection is no different from our Under 20 and Under 17 teams and suggests a willingness to press the self destruct button.

I mean why call up less than the best legs we have?


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