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Selections For The Super Eagles Ahead Of 2010 African Nations Cup & World Cup
By Mystic (Cybereagles.com)
Published December 05, 2009


I really doubt that we will see any new faces heading into the ANC. Amodu, at most, may select 2 or so players that haven't been a serious part of his plans up to this point for the pre-ANC camp. And even then, such players will have long odds of making the ANC, as Amodu will have little time to evaluate players, and must get down to the serious business of naming his squad and focusing the challenge that is the African Nations Cup.

More likely, after the Nations' Cup, players who haven't been part of the setup may then get a chance to show their stuff and compete for a spot, depending on the amount of friendlies that Nigeria can  arrange. I personally do not think that many changes need to be made to the current selection, but there are players who we need to take a good look at heading into the Mundial.

This is essentially how I see things with the national team players at present:

GOALKEEPERS

The incumbents: Vincent Enyeama, Austin Ejide, Dele Aiyenugba, Greg Etafia
Enyeama remains Amodu's top guy while Ejide is somewhat rusty, Aiyenugba is in excellent serving as  safety net if Ejide is unfit.

Injury/form questions: Austin Ejide
Ejide was hurt in the summer needs to find a club and get back in the swing of things.

Who I would like to see: Ambrose Uanzekin, Carl Ikeme
Uanzekin can legitimately push our top guys for a roster spot Ikeme has the size and talent that Nigeria needs, time to start inculcating them into the Super Eagles looking not just at 2010, but 2014.

Keep an eye on: Bassey Akpan, Austin Brown, John Gaadi, Chijioke Ejiogu
Akpan has been Amodu's top domestic goalkeeper and Brown has been great for Heartland...Gaadi & Ejiogu are outsiders.


RIGHT BACKS

The Incumbents: Chidi Odiah, Olubayo Adefemi, Yusuf Mohammed
Odiah is still the best we've got but must find consistent form Adefemi has shown flashes of brilliance but need consistency and Yusuf is a solid option and has gained Amodu's trust.

Injury/form questions: Chidi Odiah
Odiah's 2005/2006 form will be needed at the 2010

Who I would like to see: Chibuzor Okonkwo
Chibuzor Okonkwo has the class to push our top guys for a spot but, lacks their level of exposure in Europe has everything else.

Keep an eye on: Adekunle Lukman, Nnaemeka Anyanwu, Oguchi Uche, Akeem Latifu
Luzern RB is the player that nobody talks about...Anyanwu is the domestic league version of Lukeman...i.e - nobody talks about him...Oguchi has prior SE experience...Latifu is one for the future.


LEFT BACKS

The Incumbents: Taye Taiwo, Elderson Echiejile
Taiwo remains our top guy despite his deserved benching most likely regains his shirt at the ANC but, Echiejile has had his moments and is still long on potential and short on experience.

Injury/form questions: Ifeanyi Emeghara
Emeghara was on Amodu's shortlist but an injury has ruled him out for more than one season now.

Who I would like to see: Angelo Ogbonna, Denis Aogo, Rasheed Alabi
Ogbonna & Aogo should be actively recruited...they both potentially improve the SE...Ogbonna at LB & CB...Aogo at LB, LM & DM...Alabi plays in Cyprus (Omonia)...thus he is not talked up much in these parts...would be my choice as our 3rd LB if Ogbonna & Aogo are not interested.

Keep an eye on:Abraham Alechenwu, Ogbonna Okemiri, Joseph Eyimofe
Alechenwu is off the radar in Albania that likely does  not favor him for now but, he may be one for the future. Okemiri and Eyimofe are outsiders but remain among the best on the domestic scene.


CENTREBACKS

The Incumbents: Joseph Yobo, Daniel Shittu, Onyekachi Apam, Dele Adeleye, Obinna Nwaneri
Yobo is rightly Amodu's top guy and Shittu does the job when called upon but Apam is Amodu's most undervalued asset and Adeleye oozes of  time talent but needs to do the little things to make the difference while Nwaneri is the guy that 9ja fans love to hate but remains relevant.

Injury/form questions: Daniel Shittu
Needs to be healthy and playing week in and week out to be at this best for the Mundial.

Who I would like to see: Rabiu Afolabi, Ambrose Efe
Afolabi is still a top player...belongs in the mix...Efe is the top talent on the domestic scene...potentially adds value to the SE...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 an Amodu player could be recalled to provide depth..Olajenbesi, Omokoh and  all provide veteran depth and know how if the need arises but they are on the outside looking in while Suleiman, Ikechukwu and Opara are tops on the home front. Not sure what Okwosah brings to the table if Amodu liked what he saw last time around, another invite could be in the offing.


MIDFIELDERS

The Incumbents: John Mikel Obi, Yusuf Ayila, Kalu Uche, Seyi Olofinjana, Oluwafemi Ajilore, Sani Kaita
Mikel is a staple in midfield...left to me he plays in central midfield alongside Ayila...end of discussion...if there were questions about Ayila's importance...that should have been put to rest in the qualifiers...Kalu Uche has quality but not consistency...a good player but not a difference maker...Olofinjana remains an important player that is undervalued by most...Ajilore still has a lot to prove...but has made progress since the Olympics...Kaita is a hardworking player, but hasn't been able to make his mark.

Injury/form questions: Yusuf Ayila, Chris Obodo
Ayila is currently healthy but is injury prone...I pray he remains fit for the Mundial...A fit and in form Chris Obodo is sorely missed in Nigeria's midfield.

Who I would like to see: Rabiu Ibrahim, Dickson Etuhu, Lukeman Haruna, Obiora Nwankwo
In by book, Ibrahim is the missing piece to the SE puzzle in midfield...Etuhu has been on the outside looking in but deserves a chance to stake his claim...Haruna, like Ibrahim brings sorely needed quality/ability to the SE midfield...ditto for Obiora Nwankwo...but whether this trio is ready for "THE SHOW" 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: Wilson Oruma, Onyekachi Okonkwo, Nnaemeka Ajuru, Paul Obiefule, Adigun Salami, Moses Adams, Micheael Tukura, Solomon James Owello, Ramon Azeez, Nosa Emmanuel Igiebor
Oruma has valuable know how but is no longer a spring chicken...Potentially still adds value to the SE...but I'd rather move in the direction of youth if it comes to that...Onyekachi Okonkwo is a veteran who brings potential depth...Ajuru is one to watch in Serbia...injury has slowed him down a bit this season...but the quality is there...form should be closely watched...Obiefule is an Amokachi favourite which gives him an outside chance...Salami remains an outsider as well...as is the duo of Adams & Tukura...Adams has not done enough this season to bolster his chances...Tukura has reportedly been an Amodu target but the jury is still out on what he brings to the SE...Owello is one to watch in Norway...but is a longshot...as is Azeez who might get a nod simply for the benefit of experience (if not to benefit somebody's pocketbook)...back to Norway...Lillestrom's Igiebor may not be ready for 2010...but is one for the future.


WING FORWARDS

The Incumbents: Osaze Odemwingie, Ikechukwu Uche, Chinedu Obasi, Obinna Nsofor
Nigerian fans finally appreciate that Odewmingie is the truth...A healthy Ike Uche completes the Super Eagles attack...Obasi is full of quality...needs to find his niche in Amodu's Eagles...Nsofor plays for me anyday...and Amodu apparently...he is growing in importance for the Super Eagles.

Injury/form questions: Ikechukwu Uche, Chinedu Obasi
Ike needs to hurry up and get well...Obasi needs to stay healthy ahead of the Mundial...like Ayila, he is injury prone.

Who I would like to see: Chukwuma Akabueze
Akabueze is a big time talent...has all the tools...just needs to be given the chance.

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 D2 Cadiz(Spain)...Okoronkwo failed to make his mark in his one chance with the SE...has the talent...but lack of first team action makes him a longshot...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 to...Osanga deserves a shot with the SE...barring injury he likely can't unseat any of our big guns, right now...but he is one for the future...I expect that there will be a drumbeat of Okoro supporters who will work to get their guy an invite...he is not ready in my opinion...but that is neither here nor there.

FORWARDS

The Incumbents: Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Obafemi Martins, Nwankwo Kanu, Michael Enemaro, Joseph Akpala
If fit and in form Aiyegbeni & Martins are still tops...no question about that in my mind...Kanu is a quasi-midfielder for the SE these days but his importance should not be questioned...trust me...at some point during the ANC & WC he will be called upon and he will delivier...that you can take to the bank...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 anwser as the reserve big forward.

Injury/form questions: Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Obafemi Martins, Victor Anichebe
Yak is steadily working his way back to form...I doubt we'll see his 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 SE if healthy.

Who I would like to see: Victor Anichebe, Brown Ideye
If fit and in form give me Anichebe over Enamaro & Akpala...the young man has upside...ditto for Ideye but he has a lot to prove yet...nonetheless he has legit SE talent which is why we need to bring him into the picture...both players maybe for the future...but should be given the chance to compete for the present.

Keep an eye on: Peter Utaka, Manaseh Ishiaku, Edward Ofere, Macauley Chrisantus, Julius Aghahowa, Ayodele Makinwa
Peter Utaka continues to bang in the goals in Sweden...which likely earns him a 2nd look...Ishiaku is a steady veteran...could be called into action if injuries arise...Ofere is an intruiging 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 longshot at this point...somewhere in Italy Makinwa's agent is working hard to put his name out there...as is our resident IFA chief in Ibadan...but I have 3 words for these folks...NOT A CHANCE!

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