In a recent interview, Ex-Super Eagles dependable defender Taribo West was quoted as saying that Glasgow Rangers' midfielder Joe Aribo is not yet tough enough for African football leading to his preference for Stoke City's Peter Etebo to continue to man the centre midfield position for the Super Eagles.
Joe Aribo is welcomed to the world of international football. Nobody said it was going to be easy. You please some but you fail to please others, that is just how the cookie crumbles.
Pastor Taribo West said Joe Aribo is not ready yet for the physicality of African Football however the Rangers man can draw inspiration from the likes of William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun and Alex Iwobi who had to learn the rigours of African Football so much so that they are now African Football Aficionados.
Iwobi in particular was a thorn in the flesh of the Zambians in 2017, yet the former Arsenal man was slightly fragile when first introduced to the African stage.
Aribo will toughen up. Acclimatisation, humid weather, awkward pitches and rash tackles (that go unpunished) that are part and parcel of the African game do take some getting used to.
As for comparison with Etebo, that just does injustice to what each has to offer. The tenacity and combativeness of Etebo is something that Aribo can only aspire to whilst Etebo can’t live with Aribo’s poise and panache with the ball.
Still, Aribo is combative in his own way whilst Etebo is very good on the ball on a good day which appears counterintuitive to my previous sentence yet makes sense in some way.
I would have no problem benching one for the other. Etebo will add more of stability to the midfield whilst Aribo brings fluidity and enhanced mobility to play.
Whichever one plays will add value to the middle of the park.
But something tells me that once Aribo masters the art of African Football, he will be unplayable to opponents!!!