The Super Eagles are scheduled to play a FIFA grade A international friendly against Venezuela at Marlins Park, Miami, USA tomorrow. The match, I presume, is training and planning opportunity for the Nations Cup in South Africa next year. I have looked at the list of players invited for the match and while I am not in a position to fault the selection, it is curious that our major players are excluded from the party.
Mikel Obi, Victor Moses, Obiora Nwankwo, and Ike Uche are not going to play. I believe and strongly so that these quartet would form the major fulcrum on which Nigeria would launch any serious challenge for Nations Cup come January 2013.
From experience, national teams experiment with new players but only with a few; three to five at most. And this is not done close to major championships.
Taking into consideration that the ACN is just a couple of months away, Stephen Keshi should narrow down considerably the pool of players he’s committed to taking to the tournament in South Africa. Inviting all kinds of players without the intention of really engaging them to the detriment of fine tuning the team for the main event has always been counterproductive.
Obafemi Martins is returning to the fold after a long hiatus from the team. His has been an experience in heights and valleys and I believe that he would have learnt a lesson or two in humility and patience. ‘Oba goal’ welcome back. Show us the skills, tenacity, deadliness and determination that made you the darling of Nigerians when you scored those two beautiful goals against Rwanda at the National Stadium, Abuja on your second match for the Nation after your superlative debut against Ireland.
And to the new invitees; Shola Ameobi and Bright Dike; do your best! I wish our boys all best the in Miami as we begin the match towards reclaiming our lost crown in African football.