Despite leading Les Girondins to five league games without a win, the club’s head coach has justified leaving out the two Nigerian stars from his side
Girondins Bordeaux manager Vladimir Petković has provided reasons why, despite the struggles of his regulars, he has frozen out the Nigerian duo of Samuel Kalu and Josh Maja.
Bordeaux have won just two of their last 17 Ligue 1 games, and Sunday’s 2-2 draw at home to Lyon was Les Girondins’ fifth consecutive match without a win.
Kalu and Maja did not make that matchday squad even though they are not presently suffering from any injury.
Despite being highly regarded by Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr, Kalu is yet to replicate his best form this term and has not played from start to finish in any of Bordeaux’s matches. The 23-year-old has just one goal and one assist in ten Ligue 1 showings.
Bosnian manager Petkovic is not impressed with the output of the Bordeaux number ten and has kept him out of the team in the last three games.
And the 58-year-old has hinted that he will stick to the players he trusts even if the Nigerian forward is not happy with the situation.
“It’s always difficult to leave players at home and not let them play, especially when they are working fairly well on the pitch,” Petkovic said, as per Girondins4ever.
“But as a coach, I have to make choices. I have a lot of offensive players, and I think it’s better to have two or three unhappy rather than having six or seven.”
Kalu’s compatriot Josh Maja has not fared any better. An injury kept the former Sunderland striker away from action at the start of the season.
Petkovic has confirmed that the Nigerian international is back to full fitness, but he is down the striking pecking order.
“Josh Maja is physically ready,” Petkovic revealed.
“I’ve never seen him play ‘live’, so I don’t know what he can be like on the pitch, or at least I don’t have the proof.
“Afterwards, I have several attackers, and I cannot take them all in the team, so we have to make choices.”
Maja’s time in France has not gone as planned, with the Super Eagles forward netting 11 goals and adding three assists in 48 appearances for Bordeaux.
The 22-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan at Fulham, where he scored three goals in 15 games. But it was not enough to help the Cottagers avoid relegation from the Premier League.