Much have been said in the last few days regarding the chances of players playing in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) making the Nigerian team to the World Cup 2018 in Russia.
Coach Gernot Rohr is expected to release the final list of players for the tournament next year and Owngoalnigeria.com spoke with Mohammed Mowiz Suleiman who covers the NPFL.
Mowiz is well vast when it comes to knowing the players in the league as he works for an extensive scouting network basically for players in the Nigeria Professional Football League.
Ikechukwu Ezenwa will likely go to the World Cup by stroke of faith. I mean if not for the unfortunate incident of first choice goalkeeper Carl Ikeme battling with Leukaemia and injury to Daniel Akpeyi, he wouldn’t have gotten the chance he got in the games against Cameroon.
The emergence of Francis Uzoho has changed the complexion of things a bit, but even at that he is sure going to be on the plane to Russia, maybe not as first choice goalkeeper though.
The present crop of defenders in the NPFL are way behind the options available to coach Gernot Rohr. Even the problematic left full back spot now has players of higher quality than their homebased counterparts.
Chima Akas who mans the post for the CHAN Eagles had his moment in the Super Eagles during the reign of coach Sunday Oliseh but it didn’t take long before he was discarded for Elderson Echiejile.
Many will point at Cletus Itodo of Plateau United but the fact that he is not good enough for the CHAN team automatically means he can’t be an option for the Super Eagles.
Same goes for Enyimba’s new signing Nasiru Sanni and other full backs plying their trade in the various teams that made up the Nigeria Professional Football League.
As for central defenders, the least said, the better for all considering the fact that Jamiu Alimi failed to grab the chances Rohr gave him when he first took over, while Stephen Eze and Emmanuel Ariwachukwu failed their biggest test in the final game of the WAFU Cup, where they failed to contain a rampant Ghana team as they conceded four times in 90 minutes.
Maybe Olamilekan Adeleye missed out on a chance to try his luck with the Eagles due to the injury that ruled him out of the trashing the CHAN team received in the final, but you still won’t rate him in the class of Kenneth Omeruo, William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun and Chidozie Awaziem who has been earning rare reviews for his performances for Nantes in the French Ligue 1.
Unless a defender emerges with quality different from the above mentioned names, there is little or no chance of any defender in the NPFL making the Nigerian team to the World Cup not because they are not good enough but simply because the team has better players in their position.
Mohammed Mowiz Suleiman