This win is significant for many reasons and one should not take away the joy from the moment. Nigeria faced a French team containing Anelka, Ribery, Evra, Benzema and Gourcouff - and we beat them. To say this was just a friendly is stating things correctly, but the significance should not be minimized.
Nigeria has at this point a very complete team in many aspects and now what we must do over the next months is to continue to refine the team. I have felt that Nigerian players are undervalued and this game was especially important for the valuation of Osaze Odemwingie, Ike Uche (who toyed with the entire French team) and Vincent Enyeama. I will focus on these 3 players and then discuss the others. Osaze is a young veteran player who has won medals at the continental level (ANC), Olympic level and at the club level. It should be noted that Osaze is never injured and plays in a very disciplined manner. He is undervalued.
Ike Uche was the pichichi winner in the Segunda - a feat that he as not replicated in La Liga, nonetheless he took Recreativo into La Liga, but has suffered long spells on the bench. It should be noted that almost EVERY Segunda team that has signed a Nigerian has been promoted ~ Ike Uche, Kalu Uche Razak Ekpoki, Bart Ogbeche ... . His spectacular goals against Real Madrid and now his performance against France truly show his quality. He is undervalued.
Vincent Enyeama has proven himself as a good shot stopper. In the game against France he made key saves and showed he has improved on his handling of crosses. His spot has been under threat by the very good Austin Ejide and a slew of other youth level goal keepers, but this performance has cemented the confidence of the fans. He should move to a league where he gets significant playing time. The Segunda, the French League, the Turkish League, the Dutch League and even the Belgian League would be a good step.
Now about the other players. Over these games we can say Adefemi Olubayo, Dele Adeleye, Yusuf Mohammed and Sam Sodje provide all we need in defensive cover in addition to Yobo and Shittu. Chidi Ordiah is now on the outside looking in ... the play I want to reflect on is the sliding tackle on Nicolas while he was making a surging run. That was the exclamation point for me as far as defense was concerned - he was totally dispossessed. The exposure that these 3 players got will be revealed in the coming transfer windows. I think Sodje showed that he can play at an EPL level, though he commited a few too many rash fouls. The trio of Adefemi, Adeleye and Mohammed should be signed by bigger clubs ...
What needs to happen now is that we need to pencil in some of these players and make another step forward. We will need to add to our a team a completely dominant roving midfielder. Kalu Uche is a candidate and perhaps a shoo in, so really the job openings as far as the SE is concerned is for a 1 or 2 players in the midfield. Such a player should be dominant and attack minded, capable of scoring from outside the 18 yard box and also creating his own goals from dribbles. There are a few ideas - one is Mikel Obi adding this element to his game. His game (and please hear me) should not me singularly conservative and defensive. If Mikel adds an Oliseh outside shot and a Socrates creative element then all is done. The other players are Rabiu Ibrahim, Victor Moses and Olufemi Oladapo (a long shot). It would be prudent to cap these players in the Super Eagles ... to see if they can fill that one specific role.
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