Its my personal opinion and I stand to be corrected. Despite the Super Eagles’ victory over Chad, the crisis in midfield still raised its ugly head.
Since the exit of mercurial skipper, Austin “Jay-Jay” Okocha, the Super Eagles midfield has been very fragile, thereby causing difficulty in other departments. This showed clearly in the first half of the Super Eagles’ last game against Chad.
I would say this again and again that even if the ‘special one’ himself, Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola or Felipe Scolari gets hired to handle this current Super Eagles, as long as the search for a really good traditional attacking midfielder or play maker still continues, there wouldn’t be any changes in the teams manner and level of play.
We’ve had a couple of midfield men in the past who impressed and Yusuf Ayila is a very good example but I wonder why he hasn’t been handed a call-up back to the team. Uche Kalu is another and playing him in midfield is one solution that has never been thought of, instead, he gets played as a winger, thereby making the right flank less effective. Mikel is obviously the favourite for most managers but he still gets missing in action when it matters most.
The Super Eagles needs a creator in the central midfield position. One who can dictate the pace of play; a Xavi or an Andrea Pirlo but its so unfortunate that these men belong to an entirely different race.
I really think Rabiu Ibrahim, Joel Obi and Stanley Okoro should be properly groomed and given chances to express themselves in that position. These guys I’ve mentioned have what it takes and I think each of them has proven that on their various previous assignments.
For the Super Eagles to be formidable and soar again, Rabiu Ibrahim, Stanley Okoro and Joel Obi should be given steady opportunities in the team alongside the likes of Yusuf Ayila and Uche Kalu respectively.
Home base players are definitely not the answer but Stanley Okoro seems to stand out. Though he doesn’t look ripe for the Super Eagles, i still think he should have been taken to the World Cup to learn a few things and gain experience just like Ricardo Kaka, Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronaldo and a couple of other great players who were taken to their first World Cups at very young ages. Even though most of them never took part like Kaka in 2002, they gained immense experience.
No doubt, Ahmed Musa will make a good attacking midfielder in the near future for the Super Eagles and that was made clear for all to see at the last World Cup and the time to make good use of him is now! Its high time we put a final stop to all this talk about Mikel Obi who just doesn’t seem ready to play for Nigeria but hell bent on playing for “cheese” and nothing more at Chelsea.
No doubt, the right options are there but the people in charge only need to know how to spot, groom and place them.