Samuel Chukwueze’s mentor and president of Super Stars Academy Uyo, Victor Apugo, has hit out at Super Eagles manager Gernot Rohr for not properly utilising the Villarreal forward in the ongoing African Cup of Nations in Egypt.
The teenage star made his AFCON debut in Nigeria’s 1-0 win against Burundi in the first game and repaid Rohr’s faith with an impressive performance, but was only used as a substitute in the subsequent matches which saw the Eagles lose 2-0 to minions Madagascar after a slim win 1-0 over Guinea.
Speaking on Nigeria’s performance at the AFCON, Apugo said it was a sign of complacency for Rohr to rest his best players when the job is not done yet, especially Chukwueze whom Nigerians are expecting a lot from following an outstanding debut season in Spain which saw him score 10 goals in 47 matches.
“I think the coach (Rohr) has got his tactics and game management wrong,” Apugo began.
“It was there for everybody to see in the first match against Burundi, but he corrected his mistakes and we won the game. Then he made the same mistake again in the second and third matches and we all saw the outcome.
“He’s underutilising his star players, especially Chukwueze who is really raring to go. I don’t know what he’s saving him for. Also, Victor Osihmen is yet to kick a ball in this tournament and that’s another person that had a very good season.
“This is the wrong time for the coach to be tinkering with the team. He should have a first eleven, play his best players and make meaningful substitutions on time,” he concluded.
Chukwueze and Osihmen were in the Golden Eaglets squad that won the 2015 U17 World Cup in Chile. He could have represented Nigeria at the just concluded U-20 World Cup in Poland but instead chose to travel with the senior squad to Egypt.
The 20-year-old from Umuahia in Abia State has been linked with a big money move to one of the top clubs in Europe this summer with Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich and Liverpool reportedly interested in his services.