The U- 20 World Cup In New Zealand might have come and gone but even with the under performance of the flying eagles (Under-20 team) there are still some players who have moved on and are showing that they are ready for the Super Eagles under the new Coach Sunday Oliseh.
We take a look at some of this players knocking at the door of the Senior National team with respect to a possible debut in the Nigerian National team – the Super Eagles.
The lethal forward who plays for Granada in Spain is certainly one of those players who may just force their way into the Super Eagles soonest. At the U-17 level, he scored 7 Goals in 5 matches at the African U-17 Championship in Morocco in 2013.
He followed it up with a goal against Mexico in the 6-1 drubbing of the North Americans. Isaac Success have a good understanding with Iheanacho in attack as he showed vision and composure in setting up Iheanacho two goals in that game (against Mexico). In the second game against Sweden he showed his class as he connected well from Iheanacho’s pass from midfield to score a brilliant goal.
What a goal it was, but he unfortunately got injured and had to be replaced by Taiwo Awoniyi. He missed the U-20 African Championship held in Senegal due to club engagement and was on hand to bang in goals against Brazil and North Korea (from a fight angle).
At club level he contributed in helping Granada stay on in the Spanish league and was on target against Valencia in their 1-1 draw last season. He is tall and strong and can withstand pressure from defender. This season he had already been impressive for Granada particularly in the match against Sporting Gijon were he scored a brilliant curling goal in that six goal thriller which ended 3-3.
As they say see is believing, you can watch that goal here. For me he is Nigeria Samuel Etos’o due to his finishing prowess, a chance at the National team beckons very soon for Isaac success.
The Ever present captain of the U-17 and U-20 team Musa Mohammed who was adjusted as a player of Coach Manu Garba’s legacy and total football have made a case for inclusion at the senior level with impressive performance at the Junior cadet Championship.
He finished as the top scorer at the U-20 African championship in Senegal with 4 goals to his name (all from the penalty spot). His leadership on the pitch was second to none. He inspired his teammate all through and was ever ready and energetic running down the right flank attacking and defender all together.
Though there was some cases at the U-23 team when he allegedly left the camp without Coach Siasia’s consent but he have put that aside and secured a club in Europe (Istanbul Basaksehir FK), that move will surely do the Nigerian good and prepare him for a place he rightfully belongs to in the National Team.
Kelechi Iheanacho is one player who deserved a call up to the National team right from day one. In October 2013 the young star announced his arrival to the football world with world class performance against Mexico, scoring four as the Golden Eagles swept apart the North Americans in an exemplary fashion with a massive 6-1 victory.
From the first to the last goal was all world class and eye catching, that makes you wonder where such a player is coming from. His calmness for the second goal was sumptuous for a young lad at that age. He was at the right place at the right time to finish for his first goal of the game, connecting well from Isaac success pass and guiding it beyond the Mexico’s goal.
He underlined his predatory instinct with a thunder bolt for the hat-trick and added the fourth goal to cap off a magnificent performance on that faithfully day. At the U-20 his impact was limited to the bench but even on the bench the young star was making case for himself as the camera was hovering all around him especially in the Germany/Nigeria match.
He was criticized for poor performance that lead to his bench role in U-20 World Cup in New Zealand in June but that was not how bad it was for the special player Iheanacho. It is always normal and a regular stuff in Nigerian football that if results are not positive for our National teams we look for scapegoat to heap the blame on, many at times to Mikel, sometimes to Yobo as they labeled him “calamity Yobo” but in this case in 4-2 loss to the Brazilian team Iheanacho took the blame in the game even when he was one of our best performer with an assist for Yahaya’s goal.
He struck the bar with a left foot curler that left the Brazil Goalie in total disarray and had gone on to Manchester City to write his name in the history book. In the Youth Team of Man.City he scored a wonder individual goal against Man United U-21side which was adjusted as the best goal. He followed that up with more goals with led to his promotion to the senior side and he repaid the faith of his manager with the winning goal at Crystal palace to hand all three points to City as he was on hand to poach the ball beyond the goal-keeper.
He featured in the big game of the week between Man-City and Manchester United come off the bench for Bony Wilfred .The young lad at 18 became the first City player to score in the Premier League. As the clock ticks the 19 years old is getting ever ready for his maiden debut in the Super Eagles which is a step in the right direction as Coach Sunday Oliseh’s team, the Super Eagles are in dire need of options and depth within the team.
The young midfielder has shown that he has all it takes to play for the Super Eagles. At the U-20 level he was instrumental to the team as he replaced injured teammate Ifeanyi Mathew in midfield and proved a valuable asset to the team. In the second game against North Konea in the U-20 World Cup he struck a bullet of a goal from outside the area to show a glimpse of his quality.
Even Coach Kadiri Ikhana praised the midfielder and said that the best is yet to come from Sokari. Ikhana knows the player well as Sokari bosses his midfield at Enyimba International. His quality and talent is not in doubt and must be utilized in the main Super Eagles set up. His wonderful performance at the U-20 level earned him a reported move to Tunisian giants Esperance, but the move fell through as both parties did not conform to the paper work signed for the deal.
He came back to Enyimba and continue his good form for the team and have been rewarded with the Number 10 shirt as he dictated proceedings for Enyimba in the middle of the park. He was instrument to Mfon Udoh goal heroics in the league last term and played a key role in helping Enyimba win the league this season.
At the U-23 All African Game he scored a sweet chipping goal against Ghana to cap off a wonderful build up play which is characteristics of Samson Siasia’s teams. His presence also will promote competition in midfield as the Eagles are undergoing a transition into a solid team.
All said and done the time is now to give Sokari a chance to showcase his talent and add quality to the Super Eagles and not just the fringe role he was given against South Africa Earlier in March.
Obiweluozo Martins For SoccerNet Nigeria