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Super Eagles World Cup Provisional Squad: Babangida Surprised By Lokosa’s Inclusion, Sadiq’s Exclusion

Super Eagles World Cup Provisional Squad: Babangida Surprised By Lokosa’s Inclusion, Sadiq’s Exclusion

By James Agberebi:
Former Nigeria international Tijani Babangida has given a thumbs up for the Super Eagles 30-man provisional squad released on Monday, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
The Eagles’ provisional squad released by head coach Gernot Rohr had the likes of skipper Mikel Obi, Odion Ighalo, Victor Moses, Alex Iwobi, Leon Balogun, William Troost-Ekong, Wilfred Ndidi and Ogenyi Onazi.
Also on the list are Kelechi Iheanacho, John Ogu, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Francis Uzoho, Dele Ajiboye, Daniel Akpeyi, Shehu Abdullahi, Moses Simon, Oghenekaro Etebo, Elderson Echiejile among others.
Babangida who featured for Nigeria at the France 1998 World Cup, scoring in the 4-1 loss to Denmark in the round of 16, however expressed shock following the inclusion of Junior Lokosa of Kano Pillars and Simeone Nwankwo of Serie A side Crotone.
“All the players that are supposed to be in the list are there,” Babangida told CSN.
“They are the players who played in the qualifiers and also in the friendly games. But my major surprise is the inclusion of Junior Lokosa. He is such a player who scores one or two goals every week and deserves to be called. And he deserves not only to be called but also given the chance to play friendly matches. Because if he plays in the friendly matches, we will know whether he will be in the final list. And with the kind of players around him, he can make it.
“Another player whose inclusion surprised me was Nwankwo. Honestly I don’t know him. I heard he plays in Italy and for him to be invited means he is a good player.”
Babangida however stated he is surprised Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medal winner, Umar Sadiq, who was on loan to Dutch top flight side NAC Breda from AS Roma, did not make the cut.
Sadiq scored five goals in 12 league appearances for NAC Breda in the Dutch first division.
“One surprise for me about a player who was left out in the list is Umar Sadiq,” the Atlanta 1996 Olympic gold medal winner told CSN.
“He is a player I have been watching this season. Gernot Rohr had mentioned him in the past but to my surprise he is not invited.
“Sadiq is a top player. He is tall and has everything you want in a striker and he scores every week in the Dutch league. But to my surprise he did not make the list.”
On whether the current Super Eagles squad is good enough to do well at this year’s World Cup, the former Ajax star said: “With the report from NFF, they are thinking of a team that can become the first African team that can reach the semi-final of the World Cup.
“This is because they have full confidence in the team, they are young and what they have shown in the qualifiers and friendly matches, they are sure the team will do very well in the World Cup. It wouldn’t be easy, but I think the team is on a good course.”
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  • Bestsports. 3 years ago

    I agree with these comments below!!!
    They are professional opinion. Read…

    I still find it difficult to understand why a Dele Aiyenugba who is very experienced and plays regularly in the is real first division is not considered. Goalkeepers get better with age and he’s 34.

    Also one would have expected an experienced hand like Ambrose Efe who can play at Centre Back and Right/Left Full Back respectively

    I also thought the coach will look in the direction of box to box midfielder Ryan Sanusi, one of the few Nigerian born footballers captaining a first division team in Europe or elsewhere. He plays week in week out for Sparta Rotterdam and is miles ahead of Mikel Agu and Uche Agbo.
    Uzoho baring any loss of form, or fitness issue will be the undisputed numero uno. Ezenwa is already an established part of the team. It will take something extraordinary to drop him if he’s fit. Therefore, one of Ajiboye and Akpeyi will not make the final 23 IMHO.

    Two amongst the defenders will not be in Russia. Eze is an absolute prospect who reminds me of the great gentle giant Uche Okechukwu when I watched him at the CHAN tournament, but the WorldCup in Russia might be too early for him. Between him, Omeruo and Awaziem one have to make way. The crystal ball is pointing at Eze among the trio. Awaziem plays in a top five league and he’s been ever present all through GR tenure. Omeruo already has a WorldCup experience so I think Eze might be the one to make way here.

    One of Aina, Idowu, Ebuehi and Echiejile will be dropped. I don’t see GR dropping any of Balogun, Ekong and Shehu. So the battle will be between Elderson and Aina or depending on the fitness level of Ebuehi. Unfortunately one of those three will not be going to Russia. Echiejile has an edge based on experience so me feel one of Ebuehi or Aina will be dropped.

    Two amongst the midfielders will be dropped. My ideal midfield for the Mundial barring any fitness issue will be Mikel, Ndidi, J Obi, Etebo, Onazi and Ogu. Mikel Agu and Uche Agbo can not match any of the aforementioned six in all ramifications.

    Two will be dropped amongst the strikers. Lokosa has no business in the list talk less of him making the final 23. Dude will just be coming for the experience. That Simeon Nwankwo guy is a brute of a striker. His bicycle kick goal against Juventus is still fresh in the memory. A striker with that kind of ability should be going to the WorldCup, but it will mean that one of the other established strikers/attackers in the team have to make way. Unless the coach decides to drop three defenders or three midfielders to accommodate Nwankwo in the final 23. If paired with Kelechi upfront I foresee a devastating SuperEagles strike force in Russia.

    These two guys really deserves to be in the final list, Simeone Nwankwo and Ajiboye.
    Great analyst. We can only hope.