The Players yielded to the clarion call for the battle against Seychelles in a very positive manner, as at Tuesday about 18 of the invited players have arrived the coastal country of Seychelles. You must recall that the Super Eagles haven’t qualified for 2 back to back AFCON and they also started the 2019 campaign on an overconfident and losing note. The Bafana Bafana did the impossible by beating the Super Eagles 2-0 at their backyard in Uyo. It is obvious the players also sense the urgency of the mission and they have shown patriotism in their response.

Though there have been some withdrawals due to injuries etc, in this piece we highlight the performance of all the Super Eagles invitees for their respective clubs across the world as they match to the Indian ocean to crush Seychelles

GOALKEEPER

Francis Odinaka Uzoho (Elche) status – (no match yet)

He is on the books of Elche in Spain, the Nwangele born goalkeeper was between the post for the Super Eagles at this year’s world cup in Russia. Uzoho who appeared out of the blues as a reserved third choice goalkeeper at Deportivo in Spain emerged Super Eagles number one, relegating the more experienced goalkeepers Akpeyi and Ezenwa to the bench. Unfortunately for the country the 1.96 m tall, 91kg Uzoho has not been busy at his temporary club (on loan) – Elche. This is not good for the Super Eagles. The last time Uzoho was between the sticks was in the Super Eagles’ 1-2 loss to Argentina at the Russia 2018 World Cup in June.

Ikechukwu Ezenwa – (Enyimba fc) status – (no match yet)

Ikechukwu Ezenwa leading to the World Cup was Nigeria’s go-to goalkeeper during our qualifiers until Uzoho appeared on the scene and was made the Number One at Russia 2018. The situation of Ezenwa is that his current club are on the continent, so he ought to be have been busy but the sad part is that he is a reserve goalkeeper for his team in the CAF Confederations Cup. So one can conveniently say he has been training-ready but no playing time under his belt.

Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United) status – very active

Unlike Uzoho and Ikechukwu Ezenwa who for obvious reasons (they aren’t the number one choice goalkeepers in their clubs) haven’t been playing, the latest father in town Daniel Akpeyi has featured in all Chippa United matches this season. He was in goal in Chippa United’s 1-2 loss to Supersports United.

 

DEFENDERS:

Ola Aina (Torino) status – very active (NOT AVAILABLE DUE TO INJURY)

The Chelsea Player on loan at Torino was in action for his team Torino’s 1-0 victory over SPAL in the Serie A over the weekend. He played for 86 minutes until he was replaced by Alex Berenguer. The Nigerian International has been used as substitute twice and due to his impact he was in the starting lineup in the last match at home to SPAL.

Bryan Idowu (Locomotiv Moscow) (no match yet)

Good that Idowu moved from an unknown club – AMKAR on a free transfer to a bigger club in Locomotive Moscow. Unfortunately Idowu has found it very difficult to pin down a starting shirt in the star studded team

 Chidozie Awaziem (FC Porto) – (no match yet)

He was an unused substitute again in Porto’s last match away 2-3 to BELENENSES in the Portuguese Premier Liga. Twice Awaziem has been an unused substitute in the team’s matches. Sérgio Conceição the coach of Sporting Lisbon is yet to feature him in a league match this season.

Leon Balogun (Bright and Hove Albion) (active)

The German born Nigerian International has been adapting well in the English Premier League. His high moment this season should be when he came in during the home victory against Manchester United. However, he has had 160 minutes playing time, only one start and named substitute 3 times out of which he came in once in the Match against Man United.

William Ekong (Udinese), (very active)

A transfer that shocked many, especially the fans of his former club Bursaspor. Ekong has been one of the mainstays of his new club, he has been in all their matches – 270 minutes in all. It has been a great start of the season for Troost.

Collins Jamilu (Padeborn) very active.

Nigeria has extended a first Super Eagles call up to Jamilu Collins who plays in Germany. Jamilu Collins was born on the 5th of August 1994 in Nigeria, he is 1.83m tall and weighs 69 kg. He is a left footed defender who has played actively for his second division Bundesliga team. His team currently lies in third position in the league and he has been on for 354 minutes of their 4 matches this season. He was only substituted (84th minute) and replaced by Felix Herzenbruch in their last home match against Bochum which ended in a 2-2 draw.

 Semi Ajayi (Rotherham). MOST ACTIVE

In our weekly Naija Footballers monitor, we noted that Semi Ajayi who plays for Championship side Rotherham c is one of the most active players in Europe in terms of minutes played so far since the beginning of the season. Semi Ajayi has expressed surprise and gratitude to the football authorities for extending a first Super Eagles call up to him. He has played all the 540 minutes of the 6 matches played so far by his club. His club currently lies in the 15th position on the championship league table.

 

MIDFIELDERS:

Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City) (very active)

Ndidi has been a great revelation both for club and country. He has become an integral part of the Leicester City team and a first team player with all the coaches that have handled the team in the seasons he has been there. He has played all 360 minutes of football by his club this season.

Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City)

Playing for Stoke City in the English Championship is surely a stepping stone for him to better and bigger things. He has played 283 minutes this season, 3 of which was as a substitute and 2 as a starter while he sat on the bench in one of the matches.

Joel Obi (Chievo Verona)

He was one of Nigeria’s finest left sided midfielders until serious injuries knocked him out of contention. His inclusion in the World Cup squad raised so many eye brows because he hadn’t been playing many games over the years. This season, he has played 138 minutes for his Italian club, twice as a substitute and as a starter in their last home game against Empoli. He was replaced by S. Kiyine in the 0-0 draw.

John Ogu (Hapoel Beer’Sheva) (very active)

One of the most overlooked left sided midfielders until recently. He has played all the minutes, 180 in all for his Israeli club and he scored in his team’s 1-1 home draw in their last match against rivals Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor) (very active)

The much vilified Nigerian midfielder, who has been a ready, steady, patriotic son of the soil. Often misunderstood but still remains loyal to the national team. The diminutive player who will captain the country in the match against Seychelles, unknown to many has played in all the 4 matches of Trabzonspor this season and he scored in his team’s 4-0 demolition of Galatasaray over the weekend.

Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) OUT DUE TO INJURY

Kelechi Nwakali (FC Porto B). (Very Active)

Kelechi dazzled in the match Super Eagles-selected side vs visiting Atletico Madrid, he is on loan at Porto B Side from his parent club Arsenal Fc. He has played all the 4 matches for his Segunda B team and was substituted only in one of the matches. Many fans believe that he can conveniently fit into the role played by team captain Mikel Obi.

 

ATTACKERS:

 Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City) (active)

The departure of fellow African Riyahd Mayrez has given Kelechi a new lease of life at Leicester. Yet to score for his club in the premier league but he has seen the back of the net once in the League cup competition against Fleetwood town.

 Ahmed Musa (Al Nassr) (active)

Our ever reliable World Cup super star, the highest goal scorer for Nigeria in the history of the World Cup, has been a shining light in the desert country of Saudi Arabia though his move to the club Al Nassr after his superb performance at the Russia 2018 remains a surprise to many.  He has played full 90 minutes in his clubs 1-2 away win over Ohod FC

Simi Nwankwo (Crotone) (active)

With four matches played so far in Italian Serie B, Simi has only featured for 76 minutes this year for his club, and he was a substitute for A. Budimir in the 70th minute of their 4-1 bashing of visiting Foggia. It’s obvious with the game time that he hasn’t been seeing much of the “ball”

 

Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai)  (very active)

Still our reliable NO. 9 despite some below par performance at Russia 2018, the Changchun Yatai striker has scored 16 goals in 21 matches played so far in 2018. He has played all the matches and was only substituted on one occasion.

Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux) (very active)

Finally called up by the German coach, Samuel Kalu is the only Nigerian player in the French elite division – Ligue 1 presently. He has had regular playing time for his club in fact he has played all the league matches so far this season but yet to score a goal.

Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray). (Very active)

Virtually the most prolific Super Eagles striker in Europe presently, he has taken the Turkish league by storm. He has played in all the 4 matches so far and was only substituted in one, scoring 2 good goals in the process. He was the first player to arrive the Super Eagles’ camp in Seychelles for this AFCON encounter. He is hungry to make an impact and let the world know the new star on the block.

CONCLUSION

Going by their superb form for their various clubs the Nigeria’s Super Eagle have promised that its 3 points or nothing. They assured while they played on the sandy shore of Seychelles that they will give everything to bring their AFCON qualifiers back on track . WE WILL DIE THERE UNTIL WE GET THE 3 POINTS.

 

 

 

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