The fortune of Nigerian senior men’s national football team, the Super Eagles has been in comatose following the big blow and set back occasioned by the global pandemic corona virus (A.K.A Covid-19) is on its rise again.
The world’s football governing body’s Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) in this month’s ranking moved Nigeria from the 31st position to 29th position and 3rd in Africa behind Senegal and Tunisia. This is a morale booster.
The Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr recently released a 25-man squad to revive the Super Eagles two friendly matches against the Elephants of Ivory Coast and Tunisia’s Carthage Eagles. The two friendlies are scheduled for Austria next month October 2020. Super Eagles, the three time African Champions will be evaluated following the lockdown the pandemic covid-19 stalled world sporting schedule and programs.
The full list:
Goalkeepers: Dele Alampasu (FK Ventspils/Latvia), Matthew Yakubu (SFK Sered/Slovakia), Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotherdam/Netherlands)
Defenders: Keneth Omeruo (CD Leganes/Spain), Leon Balogun (Glasgow Rangers/Scotland), Chidozie Awaziem (FC Boavista/Portugal), William Troost-Ekong (Udinese/Italy), Jamilu Collins (SC Paderborn 07/Germany), Olaoluwa Aina (Fulham/England), Oluwasemilogo Ajayi(West Bromovich Albion/England) and Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto/Portugal)
Midfielders: Mikel Agu (Vitoria Guimaeres/Portugal), Samson Tijani (RB Salzburgb/Austria)/Tyrone Ebuehi (FC Twente/Netherlands), Frank Onyeka (FC Mitdjtilland/Denmark), Oghenakaro Etebo (Galastasaray SK/Turkey).
Strikers/Attackers: Ahmed Musa (Al Nassr/Saudi Arabia), Alex Iwobi (Everton/England), Victor Osimhen (SSC Napoli/Italy), Moses Simon (FC Nantes/France), Samuel Chukwueze (Villareal/Spain), Kelechi Iheanocho (Leicester City/England), Cyril Dessers (KRC Genk/Belgium), Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux/France), Chidera Ejike (CSKA Moscow/Russia).
The head coach however listed five standby players in view of force majeure occasioned by injuries and doubtful physical fitness;
Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor/Turkey), Ramon Azeez (Granada/Spain), Joshua Maja (Girondis Bordeaux/France), Henry Onyekuru (AS Monaco/France), Tyrone Ebuehi (FC Twente/Nettherlands) who is likely to replace Wilfred Ndidi who is sidelined for up to 3 months after picking up an injury in the English Premier league.
Surprisingly, no Nigerian domestic league player made the list due to non-resumption of our sports program and doubtful physical fitness of the players. Over reliance on foreign-based players in preference to Nigerian-based players is a bane to football development in the country. The sports minister should address this imbalance.