Well, well, well, what can we read to the snubbing of Kevin Akpoguma and William Troost Ekong for upcoming friendlies?
Both players have been active in club football recently without report of any injuries to knock them out of national team selection.
Without having insider knowledge to the rationale behind the selection of players, it is rather impossible to eliminate guesswork from the equation. So, my guess is that both Akpoguma and Ekong are now so low in the pecking order of Super Eagles defenders that it will take multiple injuries to multiple defenders for them to get a look-in.
Although Leon Balogun hasn't formally announced his retirement from international football, being left out in the cold for so long will end up freezing him into the cold hands of retirement anyway. But, if fit, I personally will still pick Leon Balogun presently ahead of William Troost Ekong and even Kevin Akpoguma any day of the week.
Akpoguma has not really grabbed his Super Eagles chances by the scruff of its neck. Indifferent performances here and there in centre defence and at right fullback has left some of us fans scratching our heads as to what he actually brings to the table.
William Troost Ekong has always had one clanger too many in him for my liken. From his Rugby tackle against Croatia in 2018 to a damaging own goal against Algeria in the Afcon semi final and a comical miscommunication against Central Africa Republic in Lagos, his catalogue of gaffs seems as long as the Third Mainland Bridge.
But I don't mind Ekong and Akpoguma. They wear their hearts on their sleeves and are quite passionate about representing Nigeria, Ekong in particular.
But with Awaziem and Ebuehi preferred to both of them as replacements for injured players in upcoming friendlies, you have to wonder how further low in the pecking order both players will fall.
My sense is that Peseiro has a penchant for players with dynamic capabilities which aids their deployment in multiple fronts. Ebuehi and Awaziem are quite pliable. Ekong is rigid and Akpoguma is admittedly a jack of multiple defensive trades but sadly, master of none in Super Eagles colours.
But football is beautiful. Between now and the 2026 World Cup, there are very many matches to be played. Who knows, Akpoguma and Ekong may just experience a rich vein of form in coming games in club football which will force the hand of the coaching crew and willing critics (like me) to see them in a more favourable light.
For now though, the likes of Ajayi, Bassey, Torunariga, Awaziem and Omeruo (another controversial selection) are the names to remember, names to attempt to displace, names more favourable to Super Eagles handlers and a healthy body of fans.