With many players hoping to play a part on football’s biggest stage, heart breaks, disappointment and a fair bit of tantrum follows the announcement of the list of players heading to the World Cup. For the Super Eagles Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr worked his list from 30 players, trimming five players before he dropped another two before he named the final 23 players. But are they the best selection of players to Russia? Here are five players who should have made the list.
The Kano Pillars forward earned an invite to the Super Eagles after he had scored 18 goals in 20 games in the Nigeria Professional Football League. Lokosa was dropped after Gernot Rohr trimmed the 30-man list to an initial 25 players before the final 23-man list. Lokosa got very little in the way of proving his mettle in the Super Eagles setup before he was cut-off. He made his debut on the bumpy Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium against DR Congo in an unfamiliar role on the right side of attack and lasted only 73 minutes. Lokosa is currently the highest scoring Nigerian player in the World and he could have offered his goal-scoring touch to a misfiring attack.
Nwakali showed in the match against Atletico Madrid, he will not be out of place in the Super Eagles at the World Cup. The Arsenal midfielder played with a maturity that belied his years and curled an unstoppable strike past Jan Oblak for good measure. With dissatisfaction with the Super Eagles midfield distribution, the intelligent Nwakali would have ensured that feeling was eased if he was invited to the initial 30-man list. Asides his impact on the field, the youngster touted to play a key part in the next generation of Super Eagles, would have gained valuable experience being at the World Cup rubbing shoulders and learning from John Mikel Obi. Rohr missed a trick.
Ola Aina didn’t get a fair run in the Super Eagles stuck out on the left side of the defence. Predominantly a right back but also comfortable on the left, Rohr should have taken the player to the World Cup as his versatility could prove useful. Though he didn’t do enough to convince and his tugging of Issama Mpeko probably sealed his exclusion. Still, Aina, who was dropped as part of the final two players to be excluded would have properly contested with Bryan Idowu for a place in the starting line-up.
First perceived as a Rohr favourite all to be let go at the final juncture, Agu’s disappointment would have been immeasurable. The midfielder would be particularly miffed after he was dropped In place of Joel Obi. Joel Obi was deplorable in the game against England before the final list was announced and has gotten far more chance to prove himself than Agu. Agu has been limited to cameos off the bench, which wasn’t enough time to showcase his talents.
Onyekuru’s case has a bit of misfortune about it, his long term injury scuppered his chances for the World Cup but there was a sliver of hope to be had. Onyekuru worked himself back to fitness to be in contention for a World Cup spot but didn’t feature for Anderlecht with the coach Hein Vanhaezebrouck claiming he wasn’t ready to play from what he had seen in Onyekuru’s stints in the reserve games. Onyekuru’s pace and dynamism on the wings would have infused much needed creativity to the Super Eagles front line. His goal scoring threat threat would have also been an addition to Nigeria at the World Cup.
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