Tuesday, 6 October 2015

A review of the Super Eagles' foreign legion

Odion Ighalo
Coach Sunday Oliseh upon resumption of work promised that preference would be given to players performing regularly for their clubs (in top divisions), whether at home and abroad. While this script has not exactly played out to the letter, it may have motivated the players as it is encouraging to see that Nigerian players in Europe are playing more regularly.
This review is narrowed down to some European based Nigerian players who are in, who are on the fringes, or who are potential members of the National teams.

Vincent Enyeama who recently lost and buried his mother has played only 6 games during which he conceded only twice and was red carded in the 1 - 1 draw against Rennes. Carl Ikeme has conceded four goals in his three games for Wolves - the last of which was on August 29.
Leon Balogun has made two starts and four substitute appearances for Mainz 05 in the Bundesliga. Uwa Echiejile has surprisingly played only two full games for Monaco in France so far. Juwon Oshaniwa has been cautioned once and sent off once in eight starts for Hearts in Scotland. Godfrey Oboabona has played seven full games for Caykur Rizespor of Turkey, scoring once and bagging three yellow cards.

Gbenga Arokoyo has received one yellow card in four games for Gaziantepspor in Turkey; he started two of these games, and has come off the bench the same number of times while Kenneth Otigba has started only two of the eight games he has played for Heerenveen of Holland. Hope Akpan has played seven games for Blackburn Rovers in England - three in the starting line up and four as a substitute.

Ogenyi Onazi scored the first equalizer in a 3 - 2 win over St Etienne in the Europa League - his only game for Lazio this season - incidentally on Nigeria's independence day and duly dedicated the goal to his country. Izunna Uzochukwu has made three starts and two substitute appearances for Amkar Perm of Russia while compatriot, Fengor Ogude, has played all but one of the clubs nine games this season, receiving one red card.
Obiora Nwankwo has been somewhat regular in the starting line up of Académica de Coimbra in Portugal, playing six games while Joel Obi has only managed 72 minutes of action - coming off against Hella Verona, and coming on late against Palermo.
Lukman Haruna may have ruined his chances in the Super Eagles but has started seven games and made two substitute appearances for Anzhi in Ukraine. Rabiu Ibrahim retained his place in the Eagles and has played ten games – starting eight and coming on in two - for AS Trencin in Slovakia.
Ahmed Musa
Ahmed Musa has six goals to his name playing every minute of all CSKA Moscow's 11 games so far while Victor Moses has scored one goal (the opener in that famous away win over Manchester City) in four starts for West Ham United.
Odion Ighalo is easily the hottest Nigerian export to Europe so far this season as he has continued from where he left off last season, scoring five goals in eight appearances for Watford in England. Aaron Samuel's tally is seven in fifteen starts and two substitute appearances for Guangzhou R&F of China.
Anthony Ujah and Sylvester Igboun have scored two goals in eight and nine matches so far this season for Werder Bremen of Germany and Ufa of Russia respectively, while Emmanuel Emenike has had three goals in his three starts for Al Ain.

As Samson Siasia looks to bolster his team, it has been mixed fortunes for the younger Eagles and Olympic team hopefuls. Olympic team regular, Sodiq Ololade Atanda of FK Apolonia FC in Greece, has only played one game so far. Due to injuries to first choice centre backs at Bolton Wanderers, Derik Osede has commenced life in England with three games, the last of which was against Huddersfield Town on 19 September where he was sent off for two bookable offences. However, Dominic Iorfa, right back and teammate of goalkeeper Carl Ikeme at Wolverhampton in the English Championship, has received three cautions in his eight full matches while fellow Olympic team hopeful, Godswill Elohor Ekpolo, has made five starts and two substitute appearances for FC Barcelona's B-team which he captains.

Imoh Ezekiel has not yet  hit the back of the net in three starts and 6 substitute appearances for Anderlecht. Michael Olaitan is also having a similar drought in seven games for FC Twente  of Holland. Anderson Esiti has been used mostly as a substitute, having come on in five of the six games he has played for Estoril in Portugal.
In Greece, Abdul Ajagun of Panathinaikos has been substituted in the three games he has started, but has scored two goals. Despite impressive runs in the Super Eagles, Moses Simon has not scored in seven starts and 3 substitute appearances for Gent in Belgium but Taiwo Awoniyi yet to debut for FSV Frankfurt on loan from Liverpool.
Kingsley Madu
Kingsley Madu has gone games without a caution for AS Trencin in Slovakia. Kenneth Omeruo has started six games and bagged two yellow cards for Kasimpassa of Turkey, on loan from Chelsea FC. His Eagles side kick, William Ekong has only bagged one yellow card in nine full games for FK Haugesund of Norway.
Isaac Success is now a regular with five starts and two substitute appearances for Granada in the Spanish La Liga though with only one goal (a winning goal away to Getafe) to show.

Cedric Omoigui has made six starts for Valencia B-team in the Segunda Liga (on loan from Mallorca ) with one goal as well. Kelechi Iheanacho scored an important winner for Manchester City at Crystal Palace in one of his  four substitute appearances so far.

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