It will be remembered that Sunday Oliseh who was once the skipper of the national team speaking to news men shortly after his unveiling as the Super Eagles chief coach in Abuja said that "only players who play in the first division across Europe will be invited to play for the National team as foreign based players". After announcing his team list its very obvious Mr Oliseh means every single word of what he had earlier said.
|Oliseh (2nd from left) during one of the local league matches in Nigeria|
The list comprises of 17 foreign based players and 7 local based players who are regular starters with their respective clubs.
The seven locally based players include; Femi Thomas, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Solomon Kwambe, Chima Akas, Austin Obaroakpo, Usman Mohammed and Prince Aggreh
The seven home based players no doubt have worked their way through the rank to make the final list of players that will be departing Nigeria for Tanzania on Thursday but the main eyebrow raiser is the non inclusion of top guns like Mikel Obi, Victor Moses and Vincent Enyeama who pulled out due to personal issues, in the list.
With the exception of already known players such as Emmanuel Emenike, Anthony Ujah, Amhed Musa, lukman Haruna, Godfrey Oboabona, and Leon Balogun the rest out of the 17 are all relatively unknown players.
we take a look at the relatively unknown players in the list
1. Carl Onora Ikeme 29 yrs old.
He is a goal keeper and from all indication will likely be the one in goal come Saturday with the withdrawal of team skipper Vicent Enyeama who has been replaced with Femi Thomas of Eyimba fc Aba. He plays for Wolverhampton Wanderers in England, though born in the United kingdom, Ikeme decided to shun his country birth and play for his ancestral nation Nigeria, this is his first call up to the Nigeria national team and maybe he will be given his first cap for the Eagles.
Kingsley plays as a lift back for Slovak club AS Trenčín. He is well grounded about the high expectation that goes with putting on the green and white jersey of the national team as he had been playing his football in the local league side El-Kanemi Warriors before moving to Europe and have also represented the senior team once and have played for the U20 eleven times.
3. Moses Simon 20 yrs old
Moses Daddy-Ajala Simon was born in Jos plateau state in Nigeria, he is a forward who plays for Belgian Pro League club KAA Gent. He is a product of the famed GBS Academy the same one which produced the speed demon Ahmed Musa. Simon was once linked with a move to Liverpool and Tottenham before finally moving to Belgium were he has scored 7 goals in 24 appearances for KAA Gent.
4. Samuel Emem Eduok 21 yrs old
Samuel Eduok is a heavily built striker one who will prove to be handful for any defence to handle, haven seen what Emmanuel Enemike can cause to opposing defenders Sunday Oliseh thought it wise to include Samuel Emem who plays for Tunisian club Espérance to his squad. The former Dolphins of Porthacourt striker has already scored a toal of 7 goals in 13 appearances for the Tunis club to add to the 26 in 42 appearances he had for Dolphin, it is certain that goal scoring is something he finds so easy bearing in mind his appearances looks more like that of a rugby player.
5. Izunna Uzochukwu 25 yrs old
Izunna plays for Russian side FC Amkar Perm, he is a defensive midfielder of height 1.71m (5ft 7). Unlike the other relatively unkown invitee, Izunna has played most of his career in Europe, playing for FC Midtjylland of Denmark before moving to Russia. He is not a goal scoring player so no one will be expecting him to provide the goals rather he will be expected to protect the back four and help the team build when going forward.
6. Slyvester Igboun 24 yrs old
Sylvester Igboun started his career at FC Ebedei in 2004. He proved a success for FC Ebedei, catching the eye of scouts all over Nigeria. On New Years Day 2010, Igboun signed a contract with FC Midtjylland that expired on 30 June 2013.
Igboun made his debut on 26 April 2010 under Allan Kuhn. In the weeks before the 2011-12 Danish Superliga campaign, Igboun scored a hat-trick against German giants Werder Bremen. This sparked interest in him from a number of clubs, most notably Besiktas JK. Igboun has stated his desire to move to a larger club but insists that he is enjoying life at Midtjylland and is comfortable there - as long as no bigger club wants to buy him, as the case was during the winter of 2014/2015 when he then moved to his current club FC Ufa in Russia. Sylvester Igboun is a central midfielder despite his eye for goals, if he can come up with the goals for the Eagles no one will have any complains.
The other foreign invited players ; Emmanuel Emenike, Obiora Nwankwo, Haruna Lukman, Ahmed Musa, Joel Obi, Kenneth Omeruo, Leon Balogun, Anthony Ujahh, Godfrey Oboabona, William Troost-Ekong and Rabiu Ibrahim
Though a section of the citizenry will be willing to allow the new coach build a team from scratch others will be hoping for a quick fix considering the quick decline of the team just after winning the Afcon 2013 in South Africa under the guidance of Stephen Okechukwu Keshi and will be hoping the newly installed technical crew can return the Eagles to their glory days which Oliseh himself was part of.
The first –ever meeting between both countries was on July 6 1972 – a scoreless draw in a friendly in Dar es Salaam. Four months later, Nigeria's Eagles edged two quick friendlies 2-1 and 3-2 in Benin City and Lagos respectively, and then achieved another 2-1 win over the Taifa Stars during the 2nd All-Africa Games Nigeria hosted in January 1973.
In February 1976, both countries played out a 0-0 draw in a friendly in Dar es Salaam on the Green Eagles’ way into Ethiopia for the Africa Cup of Nations. And in March 1980, Nigeria won the opening match of the 1980 Africa Cup of Nations (for which they eventually emerged champions) 3-1 in Lagos.
As the Sunday Oliseh led team embark on their journey of re-positioning the Eagles among the great once again, all Nigerians will be hoping they begin with a victory coupled with an excellent display to go with it.