The 2018 FIFA WORLD CUP in Russia is just six months away, and preparations are already underway for the tournament. With upcoming international friendlies and training sessions, the Super Eagles have got to be on top of their game if they want to pull through the group stage of the world cup into the round of 16. Rohr has made advances to ex-Super Eagles internationals like Enyeama, and he is hoping to take only the best players for each position to the world cup next year.
That said, let’s look briefly at a couple of players who I think may possibly make a comeback to the Super Eagles because of their current strengths and performances in the international league.
After a momentous fallout with former Super Eagles Coach Sunday Oliseh in 2015, the 35-year-old retired from international football and has not played for Nigeria ever since.
His retirement tore a great hole in Nigeria’s defense but the Wolverhampton Wanderers goalkeeper Carl Ikeme compensated for the loss in an impressive way and Nigerians had hoped that the Super Eagles’ goalkeeper woe was over. This joy was very short lived as Carl Ikeme was diagnosed with acute leukemia in July last year.
Two goalies were called into action for the Super Eagles; Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Daniel Akpeyi, but have both failed to thrill Coach Rohr and Nigerians in general. Hence calls have been made from Coach Rohr to the former Nigerian international Vincent Enyeama to return to action and possibly go to Russia as Nigeria’s first choice goalkeeper.
Aluko, 28, made his Super Eagles debut in 2009 in a 1-1 friendly draw against the Republic of Ireland. His last appearance for the Eagles was against South Africa in a 2015 AFCON qualifier in 2014 where he scored Nigeria’s two goals in the 2:2 matchup in Uyo.
In 2017 Aluko made a great mark for himself in Reading FC, appearing 16 times out of Reading’s 21 games and scoring two goals. The midfielder has been impressive and may possibly make Rohr’s ‘call’ list.
Joel Obi, 25 is currently on the books for Torino and has done remarkably well with 3 goals and 2 assists in nine appearances. Joel Obi has had a history of injury streaks which has stunted his career growth a lot of times, but we have seen the former Nigerian international get right back on his feet nonetheless.
He is currently at his best physical strength yet at Torino, and hopefully, he doesn’t fall to an injury this time. If he keeps up being the awesome midfielder that he is, he also may very well be next to receive a call from coach Rohr.
Obafemi Martins is probably the second favorite to make the call back list after Enyeama. Martins’ last game for Nigeria was in November 2015, and since then the former Nigerian international has not been called to play for the Eagles.
In the Chinese league, Obafemi has been impressive so far, especially in the 2017 Chinese FA Cup final against Shanghai SIPG, where he played a major role in helping his club clinch their fourth cup win. Martins was also the 2017 Chinese FA Cup highest goal scorer with six goals.
Ambrose who was once included in the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) Team of the week last year has featured in every league game for his Hibernian club.
The recent shift in his performance has definitely raised a few eyebrows and if he sticks to this new found form, he may very well get a call from the Super Eagles coach.
Bartholomew Ogbeche made his debut for the Super Eagles in 2002 where he stunned the crowd with a remarkable bicycle kick in the 1-1 friendly game against Paraguay for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. The then 18-year-old could not replicate his stunner as the Super Eagles crashed out of the competition in the group stage. Since 2004 the Nigerian has not featured for the Super Eagles in any game.
Nonetheless, the now 33-year-old has made an impressive come back in the Dutch top flight with Willem II Tilburg. Ogbeche has been on a scoring streak with eight goals in several league games.
He may very well make a comeback for the Super Eagles in July if coach Rohr thinks he’ll be a worthy addition to the 23-man world cup list.