By Augustine Akhilomen
Ex international, Waidi Akanni believes the Super Eagles defence of 1994 squad are better than the current Eagles defence.
The 94’defence which had players like Austin Eguavoen, late Stephen Keshi, Ben Iroha, Uche Okechukwu, Chidi Nwanu, Emeka Ezeogu, Michael Emenalo and Uche Okafor had a solid understanding and helped the team to win the 1994 Africa Cup of Nation in Tunisia and qualified for the 1994 World Cup where the team narrowly lost 2-1 to Italy in the round of 16.
However, according to Akanni, the current crop of players in the defence such as Leon Balogun, William Troost-Ekong, Elderson Echiejile, Kenneth Omeruo and Shehu Abdulahi haven’t had the same success and cohesion that made the senior national team great in the early 90’s.
Akanni who played for the Nigeria national under-20 football team that won the bronze medal at the 1985 FIFA World Youth Championship finals in the Soviet Union and had a slight stinct in the colours of the Super Eagles during his playing days told Soccernet.com.ng that the present defence still has a lot to learn from the glorious squad of 1994.
“I must confess to you that the Super Eagles squad of 1994 had a perfect blend of experience,pace and agility which really made the team to achieve success at that time. Imagine having the likes of late Stephen Keshi, Augustine Eguavoen, Ben Iroha, Uche Okechukwu at the back and you expect nothing but solid defence,” Akanni toldSoccernet.com.ng
“Most teams in Africa are always afraid of Nigeria because of the giant players we had as our defenders; something you can’t find in the current squad. I am not saying they are not good but they appear so light and could hardly create fear in the hearts of our opponents.
“I certainly believe the present squad under Super Eagles manager, Gernot Rohr could fall in the same level if we can build on their physical nature,” he said.