The last has not been heard of the love lost between the head coach of the Super Eagles and two of Nigeria’s fittest players around, Osaze Odenwengie and Ike Uche.
Since they were ousted from the Super Eagles, the two players have enjoyed a good spell in both the English Premier League and the Spanish La liga where they play. Ike Uche, most notably, has already banged in twelve goals in the La Liga this season, while Osaze is still basking in the brace from last weekend’s Premier League match.
Football pundits have questioned Keshi’s reasons for excluding the players from Nigeria’s warm up matches to the World Cup. Former Eagles midfielder, Mutiu Adepoju, said, ”The best should represent Nigeria and Ikechukwu Uche has been doing well for his club.” He said that for Nigeria to do well at the Mundial, Coach Stephen Keshi should take the best players the country boasts of – players who are doing well in their clubs. Ike Uche and Osaze are presently performing well, and significantly too, for their various clubs. Their current form and experience will be helpful to
the team at the World Cup.”
Mutiu believes the Super Eagles will do well in Brazil. We won the Africa Cup of Nations and have been doing well since we qualified for the World Cup. But I know the World Cup is a different platform. With the commitment and dedication on the part of the players and the technical crew, I see them doing well.”
Austin Eguavoen, in his own pragmatic view, said, “it is a little bit difficult for anybody to say anything or do anything for now because up till now, whether you like it or not Keshi has succeeded and is still succeeding and by the grace of God I still want him to succeed.
“The only thing is that before a coach takes decision on any issue, he must have looked at it from various angles and thought about it over and over again. What I have to say is let us try to understand, accept and respect his decision and back him because at the end of the day, he can be held responsible for his decisions. Let us not force him into taking decisions.”
Eguavoen said the Eagles have improved and look good enough to give Nigeria, indeed Africa, a good representation at the World Cup. “Before now, I was a little bit uncomfortable with our defence when we were playing the qualifiers. But after watching them against the likes of Chicharito during the friendly against Mexico, I am a little bit comfortable now, coupled with the fact that they are going to stay together for at least three weeks before the World Cup. I believe they will gain more in terms of confidence and do well at the tournament.
The views of this ex-footballers can be exclusively inter-connected when viewed from the perspective that they both want the best for the Eagles. That said, coach Keshi knows that the current stakes are high and he knows what he has to do to deliver the goods. Like it or not, Coach Keshi is the boss of the Eagles and if he believes he does not need Nigeria’s best players to succeed then let us at least respect his judgement.