Lars Lagerback - Local or Foreign Players That Does Not Matter To Me
Published March 15, 2010
Said newly appointed Super Eagles head coach Lars Lagerback, at the Nigeran Football Federation(NFF) press unveiling on March 3, 2010 at the media centre of the national stadium complex. Implying that any good uncapped Nigerian players both home and aboard stands a chance of making the Nigerian side heading for the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa. With that said, Nigerian football fans should not expect to see many fresh faces heading into the 2010 World Cup. Lagerback at most, may select 4 to 6 new players to be included in the Super Eagles roster heading for South Africa.
Lars Lagerback and the NFF will be submitting a 35 player provisional list, which will later be trimmed to 23 players (three will be goalkeepers). On the fringe players to the Super Eagles, players from the Nigerian Premeir league and youth players from the Nigerian Under 23, Under 20 and Under 17 squads will all get their shot at a roster spot. Lagerback will have little or no time to evaluate players, and must get down to the serious business of naming his squad and focusing on the 2010 World Cup, semi-finals target set by the NFF.
Coach Lagerback, will be required in a short amount of time to address on-going problems with the Super Eagles left by Amodu and his predessor Berti Vogts.
Super Eagles current problems at present:
 The need for a prolific striker to finish chances created by the midfield and wing play.
 A dead ball specialist to take free kicks and corner kicks.
 An attack minded midfielder to play behind the strikers.
 Increase Super Eagles playing tempo, current team is very slow pace.
 A switch of formation, possible with 2 strikers up front instead of one.
 Too many unfit & injured players that need to be dropped from the squad.
 Lack of young fresh legs on the team.
 Scouting of uncapped Nigerian players world wide.
The following players could be included in Coach Lagerback 35 player provisional list.
The incumbents: Vincent Enyeama, Austin Ejide, Dele Aiyenugba, Greg Etafia
Enyeama remains the Super Eagles number one choice, while Aiyenugba remains in excellent form in Israel.
Possible outsiders: Ambrose Uanzekin, and Carl Ikeme
Uanzekin former under 23 goal keeper from the silver winning side from the beijing 2008 summer olympics.Ikeme has the size and talent that Super Eagles need,, currently on loan to Queens Park Rangers from Wolverhampton Wanderers.
In the Nigerian Premier League keep an eye on: Bassey Akpan, Austin Brown, John Gaadi, Chijioke Ejiogu
Akpan is the top domestic goalkeeper for Nigerian Premeir League champions, Bayelsa United F.C. Brown has been big time for Heartland in their run to the 2009 CAF club championship. Gaadi and Ejiogu are also notable outsiders.
The Incumbents: Chidi Odiah, Olubayo Adefemi, Yusuf Mohammed
Odiah is still the best we've got but must find consistency form due to lack of playing time at his club, CSKA Moscow. While Adefemi has shown flashes of brilliance but, needs consistency and improvement on his tackles. Yusuf is currently injured and will likely miss out on the 35 players provisional list.
Possible outsiders: Chibuzor Okonkwo
Chibuzor Okonkwo has the class to battle Odiah and Adefemi for a spot, lacks their level of exposure in Europe but, has everything else.
In the Nigerian Premier League, keep an eye on: Adekunle Lukman, Nnaemeka Anyanwu, Oguchi Uche, Akeem Latifu
The Incumbents: Taye Taiwo, Elderson Echiejile
Taiwo remains our top guy despite his deserved benching at the 2010 nations cup after the Egypt encounter. Echiejile is still long on potential and short on experience not as effective as Tawio on the attack.
Possible outsiders: Angelo Ogbonna, Denis Aogo, Abraham Alechenwu and Rasheed Alabi
Both Ogbonna and Aogo should be actively recruited to potentially improve the Super Eagles. Ogbonna is versatile at both the left back and center back position. Aogo is also another versatile choice at left back and midfield. Alabi plays in Cyprus (Omonia),thus thus thus thus he is not known to most Nigerianfootball fans. Alechenwu is off the radar in Albania,that likely does not help him for now but he may be one for the future.
In the Nigerian Premier League,keep an eye on:Ogbonna Okemiri and Joseph Eyimofe
Okemiri and Eyimofe are outsiders but remain among the best on the domestic scene.
The Incumbents: Joseph Yobo, Daniel Shittu, Onyekachi Apam, Dele Adeleye, Obinna Nwaneri
Yobo top choice, but often having moments of mental lapses, which cost Super Eagles and Everton in the English Premership. No nonsense Shittu does the job when called upon for Nigeria and Apam is one of the most undervalued asset, proving his worth when Yobo went down at the 2010 African Nations. Adeleye a big time talent but needs to do the little things that make a difference.Nwaneri has not been able to silent hs critics with constant poor performance with theSuper Eagles.
Possible outsiders: Rabiu Afolabi, Ambrose Efe
Efe is the top talent on the domestic scene and potentially adds value to the Super Eagles, not just for 2010 but looking ahead to 2014.
Keep an eye on: Sam Sodje, Seyi Olajengbesi, Harrison Omokoh, Isaac Okoronwo, Sumalia Suleiman, Thankgod Ikechukwu, Ugah Opara, James Okwosah
Sodje is already in the Super Eagles mixes and a 2002 World Cup veretan could be recalled to provide depth on the team.
Veterans, Olajenbesi, Omokoh and Okoronkwo all provide depth and know how to step up if the need arises, but they are on the outside looking in...Suleiman, Okwosah, Ikechukwu and Opara are top players on the home front.
The Incumbents: John Mikel Obi, Yusuf Ayila, Kalu Uche, Seyi Olofinjana, Oluwafemi Ajilore and Sani Kaita
Mikel is a staple in the Super Eagles midfield, liked by some and disliked by others due.to playing styles and poorshooting technque. Uche has the quality but not consistency a good player but not a difference maker. Olofinjana needs to improve his game or might miss out on the World Cup. Ajilore still has a lot to prove but has made progress since the 2008 Olympics. Kaita is a hardworking player, but hasn't been able to make his mark on the Super Eagles.
Injury/form questions: Chris Obodo
Chris Obodo a valued asset when healthy, currently recovering from a long term injury.
Possible outsiders: Rabiu Ibrahim, Dickson Etuhu, Lukeman Haruna, Obiora Nwankwo
Ibrahim is the missing piece to the Super Eagles puzzle in midfield and a scoring threat badly missed since the Jay-Jay Okocha era. Etuhu play very similar to Mikel defensively but can score, the team is already filled with defensive midfielders. Haruna, like Ibrahim brings sorely needed offensive quality and creative ability to theSuper Eagles midfield, Obiora Nwankwo like wise, but whether this trio is ready for the World Cup is another question...They need to be brought into the mix with an eye towards 2014, while keeping fingers crossed that at least one of them may be ready for 2010.
Keep an eye on: Prince Wilson Olumo ,Wilson Oruma, Onyekachi Okonkwo, Nnaemeka Ajuru, Paul Obiefule, Adigun Salami, Moses Adams, Micheael Tukura, Solomon James Owello, Ramon Azeez, Nosa Emmanuel Igiebor
Prince Olumo is having a great season in the 2009/2010 South Africa Premier Soccer League with 13 goals, an impressive record for an offensive midfielder. Oruma provides great value to Super Eagles midfield but age is against his side. Onyekachi Okonkwo is a veteran, who brings potential depth and Ajuru is one to watch in Serbia, injury has slowed him down a bit this season, but the quality is there his form should be closely watched. Adams has not done enough this season to bolster his chances while Tukura is a good talent but the jury is still out on what he brings to theSuper Eagles . Owello is one to watch in Norway, but is a long shot as Azeez, who might get a nod simply for the benefit of experience. Back to Norway, Lillestrom's Igiebor may not be ready for 2010 but is one for the future.
The Incumbents: Osaze Odemwingie, Ikechukwu Uche, Chinedu Obasi, Obinna Nsofor
The winger position is fully loaded with Nsofor, Obasi, and Odewmingie, with Ikechukwu Uche injured leaves an open spot in a highly stacked position on the Super Eagles.
Injury/form questions: Ikechukwu Uche and Chinedu Obasi
Ike Uche is still recovering from injury and doubt hang over his recovery period, if healthy would be a great addition to the team lacking creativity. Obasi needs to stay in shape ahead of the 2010 World Cup very injury prone.
Possible outsiders: Chukwuma Akabueze and Osas Idehen
Akabueze is a big time talent has all the tools just needs to be given the chance. Idehen not known due to playing in the Nigerian Premeir League for Enyimba , his stock is currently on the rise having a great season in second place of the league goal scorersposition. Idehen seized his chances in front of new coach Lars Largeback ,by scoring 2 goals against DR Congo on March 3, 2010. Often described by teammates as a fantastic player who has the abilities to make sure his team score goals, and helps the team in defending and even assist in scoring goals qualities that Osas brings to bear is his tireless running and ability to get in behind the defense.
Keep an eye on: John Utaka, Bartholomew Ogbeche, Solomon Okoronkwo, Stephen Worgu, John Chibuike, King Osanga, Stanley Okoro
Utaka may yet work his way back into the picture with regular playing time. Ogbeche is in great form right now albeit at division 2 Cadiz in Spain. Okoronkwo failed to make his mark in his one chance with the Super Eagles has the talent but, lack of first team action makes him a long shot. Worgu remains one to watch if he can sort through his problems in Sudan going, there was a mistake. Chibuike is one to watch in Sweden look out if he can keep building on the form that he has shown thus far a long shot worth paying attention. Osanga deserves a shot with the Super Eagles...barring injury, he likely can't unseat any of our big guns, right now, but he is one for the future. Expect drumbeats of Okoro supporters who will work to get their guy an invite, he is not ready, in my opinion, but a wild card.
The Incumbents: Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Obafemi Martins, Nwankwo Kanu, Michael Enemaro, Joseph Akpala
If fit and in form both Aiyegbeni and Martins are still top choices no questions about that from any Nigerian football coach. Kanu is a quasi-midfielder for the SE these days but his importance should not be questioned at some point during the World Cup he will be called upon, and he will deliver. Enamaro has shown glimpses of being an important player but the consistent quality is not yet evident. Akpala likewise, has yet to prove that he is the answer as the reserve big forward.
Injury/form questions: Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Obafemi Martins, Victor Anichebe
Yakubu is steadily working his way back to form was not the best at the ANC but could be back to his best by the Mundial. Martins assortment of injuries over the past couple of years remains a concern. Anichebe would be a welcome addition to the Super Eagles if healthy.
Possible outsiders: Brown Ideye , Benjamin Onwuachi, Peter Utaka
Ideye all grown up now since Nigerian football fans still have memories of Brown from the 2007 under 20 World Cup in Canada. A legit talent which is why we need to bring him into the picture one for the future but should be given the chance to compete for the present. Benjamin Onwuachi currently on fire in the Greek Super league with 10 goals, worth a look and also could be used on the wings too very quick with blazing speed. Peter Utaka continues to bang in the goals in Sweden, also proved his worth in a friendly game against DR Congo with a goal his first cap for the Super Eagles.
Keep an eye on: Manaseh Ishiaku, Edward Ofere, Macauley Chrisantus, Julius Aghahowa, Ahmad Musa
Ishiaku is a steady veteran could be called into action if injuries arise. Ofere is an intriguing player bangs in the goals and has great size but still has a lot to prove ditto for Chrisantus who must pick up his form but could get a look if only for the experience don't be surprised to see Aghawonder make a case for himself, but he is a long shot this point. Musa leads the Nigerian Premeir league with 14 goals currently on course to tie or beat the league record of 17 goals. The Super Eagles are missing a clinical finisher at this point any good striker should be looked at regardless of the league.
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