Invitation of Ighalo: Time for Mikel, Okocha, Enyeama, Others to return

Invitation of Ighalo: Time for Mikel, Okocha, Enyeama, Others to return

Will the return of Odion Ighalo to the national Team, be a blessing or problem?

When news broke out penultimate week that former Watford and Manchester United striker, Odion Ighalo was going to return to the Super Eagles, many people were shocked considering the fact that the player had vowed never to play for the national team.

Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr was quoted to have said in a radio interview that Victor Osihmen was super, Awoniyi was good, the other one (Paul Onuachu) is also good but Ighalo was fantastic. “He is a unique player that can deliver at any time.” Days after his comment, Ighalo was added to the list released by the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF.

However, many people have been reacting to the decision of Rohr, adding Ighalo in his list of invited players. Many felt insulted that a player who decided to call it quit when he was needed most does not deserve a recall.

Some soccer pundits however don’t see anything wrong with his invitation. They hailed the coach for taking such decision claiming that experience was lacking in the attack of the Eagles and considering that Ighalo was still scoring for his present club. They also argued that if Osihmen gets injured, there might be no striker to fill in the gap.

Meanwhile, some people also believe that the decision was taken when they considered the contribution and experience of Real Madrid and France International striker, Karim Benzema in the just concluded UEFA Nations League which France won.

Benzema returned after many years of absence from the national team. His contributions and goals saw France defeating Spain in the final to lift the UEFA Nations League for the first time, becoming the second country to win it after Portugal won the maiden edition.

Also not forgetting Brazilian Dani Alves, who returned to the national team at his age, and helped the country win football Gold medal at the last Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

However, some analysts believe that if it worked for France and Brazil, it can also work for Nigeria hence their support for the return of Ighalo but some believe otherwise. They gave instance when former Super Eagles first choice goalkeeper, Peter Rufai was recalled to the team and how he fumbled at the France 1998 World Cup.

Dotun Alabi, a football expert claimed that if Ighalo can be recalled, then there is need for the likes of Jay-Jay Okocha, Mikel Obi and Vincent Enyeama to be invited also because of the problems the team is presently experiencing in the midfield and goalkeeping departments.

Since Okocha and Mikel left, there have not been good replacements in the midfield while the goalkeeping department has also suffered since Enyeama quit the national team.

Alabi said there is need for Rohr to give confidence to the present crops of players in the team. According to him, “If Spain can rely on its young stars and achieved success so far with their semi-final and final finishes in the Euro 2020 and UEFA Nations League respectively, there is need for him to also emulate them. Afterall, they are getting better by the day.”

However, David Odinaka think otherwise. He asked, “Do we even have young stars that are playing in big clubs/leagues to rely on in the first place? I think we need experience in the team especially upfront. There is no experienced player in the attack presently. Apart from Balogun, Ekong, who are the experienced players in the team?

Meanwhile, we believe that there is always two sides to a coin. We believe that experience is needed in the team but over-reliance on some players might also not be too good for our league. In other countries, the coaches rely on their league players and base their selections on the performance of players in the league week-in, week-out.

As it is now, there is no hope for league players in Nigeria as long as Rohr is in charge of the national team. First it was over-reliance on foreign players, now it is retired players. However, we are looking forward to the day when the likes of Segun Odegbami, Daniel Amokachi, Austin Eguavoen, Vincent Enyeama, Jay Jay Okocha, Mikel Obi and others will return to the national team.

However, there is nothing God cannot do, who knows whether when the likes of Odegbami, Amokachi, Eguavoen, Enyeama, Okocha, Mikel and others return, we will be able to win the Nations Cup and World Cup trophies for Nigeria like France did, with the return of Karim Benzema.


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