The Nigerian national football team handlers are spoiled for choices in the attacking department, but one of the country’s rising stars has vowed to become a vital member of the squad
At a time Nigeria is blessed with top-class wingers and strikers, CSKA Moscow dribbling wizard Chidera Ejuke has revealed how important it is to be a part of the Super Eagles setup.
The young playmaker highlighted his growing influence in the national team by featuring in Nigeria’s two World Cup qualifying games against the Central African Republic in October.
Ejuke was in the starting lineup as the Super Eagles fell to a shock 1-0 defeat to the Wild Beasts at the Teslim Balogun Stadium on October 7.
The 23-year-old then made it off the bench midway through the second period as the coach Gernot Rohr-tutored side exacted their pound of flesh on the same opponents four days later with a 2-0 win in their makeshift home in Cameroon.
Despite not notching a goal or an assist, Ejuke’s performance still drew much applause from a section of the ever-critical Nigerian fans.
Currently sitting atop the Russian Premier League stats table as the competition’s best dribbler, Ejuke is unsurprisingly attracting comparison with former Nigerian dribbling wizard Austin Jay-Jay Okocha.
With three goals and two assists for CSKA Moscow this term, Ejuke wants to carry his club form to the national team.
“There is no doubt that it is very important (to play for the Super Eagles),” the former Heerenveen star told CSKA’s official website.
“In addition to developing at the club, it is important to be called up to the national team. This means that they recognize your level and need you.
“We played two matches: we lost one and won the second. I am doing my best to match the level of the national team.”
Ejuke equally had kind words for compatriot and Super Eagles captain Ahmed Musa.
The former Leicester City star enjoyed two spells with CSKA Moscow, winning three league titles and the Russian Cup with the Muscovites.
The forward is back in Europe with Turkey’s Fatih Karagumruk after spending time in Saudi Arabia and Nigeria. He is still highly thought of in Moscow, and Ejuke was happy to tell them that Musa also carries CSKA in his heart.
“He (Musa) is doing well,” Ejuke added. “We constantly communicate; he follows our matches and asks about PFC CSKA. He is currently playing in Turkey and is the captain of the national team. That’s why he’s doing well, too.”
Ejuke’s brilliance at CSKA has been rewarded with this campaign’s first pair of player of the month awards.
The ex-Valerenga ace may, however, endure a limited playing time with the Super Eagles following the return to fitness and goalscoring groove of Villarreal winger Samu Chukwueze.