Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Youthful Eagles, the way to go?

Coach Gernot Rhor with the Super Eagles
The disappointment of non-qualification for successive Africa Nations Cup since winning our third continental title three years ago remains a fresh wound in the heart of every true supporter of Nigerian football. The back-to-back deaths of coaches Stephen Keshi and Shuaibu Amodu, and the failure of the youth teams to qualify for any of next year’s continental tournaments completed a truly miserable year for Nigerian football; the only consolation being the Dream team’s bronze medal finish at the Rio Olympics football event.

In the wake of this monumental downturn in fortunes, the Super Eagles will, from this October, commence the quest for a slot at the next FIFA World Cup billed for Russia, two years hence. The qualification has the Super Eagles of Nigeria drawn in what is widely considered the proverbial “group of death” alongside the likes of resurgent Algeria, Zambia and Cameroon. Securing the world cup ticket will therefore be very testing for the team led by new coach, Gernot Rohr. 
The enormity of this task is amplified by the fact that failure to qualify for Russia 2018 will condemn the country’s football further into abysmal obscurity.

Events so far in Rohr’s tenure point to a positive if slow regeneration as he looks to infuse talented youngsters into the team. The integration of Kelechi Iheanacho and Musa Mohammed into the main team; the recall of Kenneth Omeruo and Anderson Esiti; as well as the invitation of Emmanuel Daniel and Isaac Success are explicit expressions that the coach is building a team for the now and the future.
Kelechi Iheanacho is impressing among and against Europe's finest
  There is no doubt that if this collection of youngsters is properly groomed to grow up alongside one another into a team, there is the realistic hope that Nigeria can put the past miserable years behind and look forward to a truly “new” and cohesively built Super Eagles. The emergence of a youthful Super Eagles team might just lure the likes of Kenneth Otigba, Dominic Iorfa, Moses Odubajo, Jordon Ibe, Chuba Akpom and Dominic Solanke to commit their international futures to Nigeria which will further strengthen the team.

Whether these permutations and probabilities will translate to surpassing the achievements of the Eagles Class of the 90s on the global scene is to be seen. It however seems a huge step in the right direction considering the proliferation of talents accruing from impressive junior teams in the last few years, as well as from the various teams and academies across the world. 

Anderson Esiti has been recalled to the Super Eagles
With the likes of Carl Ikeme, Leon Balogun, Uwa Echiejile and Mikel Obi providing the requisite guidance and experience, the youngsters should provide the hitherto lacking passion, hunger, competition as well as considerable experience to the team.

Victor Moses, Kenneth Omeruo and Ogenyi Onazi already seem like a veterans; William Troost-Ekong, Gbenga Arokoyo, Moses Simon, Imoh Ezekiel are all regular campaigners in Europe; Chidozie Awaziem and Alex Iwobi have impressed immensely since emerging on the big-time; Kelechi Iheanacho, Isaac Success and versatile Wilfred Ndidi have evolved from the junior level to make huge statements on high pedestals.

No comments:

Post a Comment