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Babangida Denies Questioning Troost-Ekong, Omeruo Super Eagles Role

Babangida Denies Questioning Troost-Ekong,  Omeruo Super Eagles Role

Former Super Eagles winger Tijani Babangida has denied quotes attributed to him questioning the invitations of William Troost-Ekong and Kenneth Omeruo to the team, reports Completesports.com.
Babangida insists the duo are quality players, who deserve to be part of the team.

“Well, it’s very unfortunate with what I saw this morning that a journalist wrote that I said Ekong, Omeruo and even Jamilu Collins should not be in the National team. I do not think we can boast of better players than these,”Babangida told AOIFootball.com.

“So if a journalist wants to have a catchy headline to sell his papers, then he writes what I did not say because that isn’t what I said so he obviously wrote against what I said. I am very disappointed and that’s not my meaning to this.

“The said journalist has however to come out to apologize for what he wrote. If he has better players than the aforementioned guys, then he has to come out and introduce them to us.”

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  • Ako Amadi 6 months ago

    Which journalist apologized to Babangida? I don’t put it beyond Mr Babangida to make such statements

  • lanre 6 months ago

    @ako amadi…God bless you abundantly

  • Collins id 6 months ago

    wether he said it or not, we still have to do away with some defenders and those mentioned names may fall in the goodbye category, looking forward to the worldcup and considering what we hope to achieve there, the likes of ekong and omeruo cannot take us there they where in the wcup and afcon together their performance was below average we lost to Croatia and Argentina both of them had a share in our flops ekong cosing penalty omeruo given messi a free passage to Argentina first goal, that is not the first time omeruo has failed many times including the recent one against Tunisia, ekong though will remain in the team both I don’t hope to see him starting matches in the nest afcon, if we must win afcon 2022 adaribioyo and balogun should be in our central deffence akpoguma aweziem and ajayi ekong are enough alternatives, omeruo should relax he don try, rohr should not repeat the mistake he did 2018 by dropping aina for old 40s echiejile that couldn’t run anymore, adaribioyo balogun aina and saidu if fit and used together they can compete with any defence line up in the world.

    • JimmyBall 6 months ago

      … Super Eagles must go back to being true heavy weights.

    • daniel 6 months ago

      for me Ekong is good defender, is only Omerou need to retire and face club football. theirs alot of good defenders in Nigeria league and Europe, like this fulham boy Adaroyoboye and some good defenders on Germany league and other leagues in europe and Nff should stop bribery from some evil agent. we need compitition in midfield and attack, world cup is not childs play

  • JimmyBall 6 months ago

    @Ekong alongside Umeruo need to give way… Adarabioyo is 6ft5 and very smooth with both foot, superior air presence and playing regularly for a premiership side. Jamilu Collins also is a surplus to requirement. Babangida even if you talk am sef… na true. Some of us have been suspicious of Ekong since he came to the Super Eagles, we were just bidding time with him till real clean defenders come along. Often caught ball-watching and characteristically trailing pacy attackers… Akpoguma, Balogun, Adarabioyo, Awaziem, and Ajayi is enough at the centre… The defence has been part of our problems now for a while.

  • Ololo 6 months ago

    Those two defenders have always given their best to the team.. Nigerians can be very ungrateful. This reminds me of odion ighalo when the insults were coming right, left center.. The akpugoma, adarabioye etc we want to bring to replace these two might come in and perform below what these two guys have been doing for years.. Let learn to appreciate what we have, we are not there yet but we can’t get there if we don’t value what we already have

    • Collins id 6 months ago

      @ololo, why didn’t you tell that to udinese fc, or to Chelsea, that they are ingrates for loaning out ekong and omeruo to inferior teams and leagues, did they not gave their best to these respective clubs? did Sunday mba not gave us afcon and missed worldcup? is it a crime to move from bungalow to a dupeless? Even if the bungalow is a good accommodation, my brother it’s not a crime to upgrade, for you to be a world champion or continental dictator (which we wanna be) your players must be regular players in the top five clubs of the top ten leagues in the world, ekong and omeruo gave their best, at list ekong won Olympics bronze and afcon bronze, omeruo won u17 silver, afcon Gold and a Bronze which we appreciate, however it is obvious that their best is nolonger enough for our dream, we want our best legs to compete in the world level, adaribioyo for me will be the biggest lost for England to us, He is the second best defender in EPL after liverpool vijdic, very soon the attention will come and you will see him behind top defenders in top clubs like Chelsea and arsenal etc, I am happy the guy have choosed Nigeria on codedly without much media attention, there is no doubt he will play ahead of ekong, my fear is for Rohr not to sacrifice balogun for ekong or akpoguma becos that man can do the unthinkable, he seems not to acknowledge or perhaps undermines the qualities of balogun.
      We have equal love for all eagles both old and new, but when it comes to the supereagles we don’t put sentiments, like I have always said before, fifa and caf are not interested in ur sentiments or your place of birth, they don’t care about your coaching crew if you lose a match you lose 3 points if you lose in a group or knock out stages you are out, if you win the semis you are in the final and if you manage to win the final you will bcome champion, simple as ABC, history will forever tell your story. If we are going to major tournament we should always use our best legs both home and abroad anywhere that leg is, as far as he is naija blood. No sentiment of I don’t want to hot their feelings, football is a game and the competition starts from within, no body have the monopoly over invitations. In conclusion we are not ingrates we employed these players and we have supported them all through, we had great times and we all enjoyed ourselves if we now deside to relieve them of their duties for a better options is not ingratitude(we helped them they are not our boss) they will be the ingrates if they fail to understand. Super eagles nor be beans na.

      • Larry 6 months ago

        @collins id, great and honest contribution. You sound like an aficionado.
        Based on my observation and current performance, someone playing regularly in one of the besr leagues in the world or performing well in European competition ranks higher than others. Based on current form, SE CD ranking goes thus..

        1. Balogun
        2. Akpoguma
        3. Adarabioyo
        4. Ajayi
        5. Awaziem
        6. Omeruo
        7. Ekong

      • D-cardinal 6 months ago

        God bless you

    • Imnas 6 months ago

      Sadly football doesn’t work that way.You are either good or not.These players are average, and we cannot sacrifice quality to placate the feelings of some passive football fans who are happy just seeing us play matches, whatever results we get is to them ok.Their interest is something else and they don’t understand our passion.They view sports as just some celebrity get-together.same people don’t understand what all the buzz about rohr,they have sympathy for him.People like that are wired with female dominant genomes.

  • D-cardinal 6 months ago

    I don dey talk am since ..eking is the weakest link in super eagles defense.. S/Leone coach even said it..after the first half he noticed ekong’s fragility and had to mount pressure through him..at his best his is average.. For omeruo.he has tried his best..but then the promises he showed at afcon 2013. Just vanished. He puts defense in trouble with his poor passes and ill positioning.Collins has not been up to scratch.even in his club,a second division team in Germany, he has been playing second Fidel to a certain Chima okoroji..moving forward;ekong(Rhor’s MCM),omeruo,Collins,akpeyi,and musa should be eased off the team..

  • Omo9ja 6 months ago

    No worries Babangida, we know the truth.

    True or not, what is the responsibility of the Super Eagles coach?

    To select the best squad to represent Nigeria.

    So, why blaming Omeruo and Ekong?

    Can both please play without the knowledge of Oga Rohr? What do we talking about here my people.

    The coach is responsible for not doing his job properly period.

    As long as we don’t accept that we don’t have a capable coach presently, this is what we get.

    Babangida has a right to talk as a former players. On the other hand, he can only advise the players and the coach to do things differently as time goes on.

    We have Akpoguma to peer with Balogun but the gaffer is afraid to bench Ekong for Akpoguma. Although, Ekong is a good players that alway ready to give it all for Nigeria and Omeruo is not left out in this too.

    Again, blame the coach not the players. More players will join the team next year but do we think Super Eagles will turn things around with this kind of mentality of the coach?

    They keep twisting our words by saying we hate Oga Rohr. Lookman, Aderabioyo, Ejaria and many of them will come in for sure but is that the solution to this problem of not knowing what to do when the ship is down?

    Think about it my people. What we have on ground is enough to be proud of if properly managed.

    Algeria coach didn’t do much when he took over the Algerian team but he managed the team properly by changing the mentality of the players and installing you can do it spirit in them. Westerhof did the same thing.

    I give kudos to Oga Rohr as well. He has tried his best for Nigeria. I do not say that Mr. Rohr is a bad coach but I don’t know if Eagles can go beyond group stage in the world cup and 3rd place in Afcon except we have an expert who can tell him what to do when things are not going well but not Mr. Salisu Yusuf.

    However, we have Ebuehi, Aina and Awaziem available for still, the coach couldn’t stop converting players here and there.

    Let’s call a spade a spade. Instead of attacking Ekong and Omeruo for nothing,

    Is the Super Eagles managers are technically and tactically sound? If the answer no then which way forward?

    Instead of blaming the players first check the ability of the gaffers of the Super Eagles in all the matches Eagles have played over the past 3 or 4 years.

    Fellow Nigerians, we have one team in this country which Super Eagles that getting us together as one family. Let’s put sentiments apart for the sake of our country Nigeria.

    4 years its more than enough to build a solid and a complete team for any country.

    I’m not convinced with the performance of Super Eagles this year. Don’t blame Covid-19 for this because we were not the only country that facing the challenges of the pandemic. Hmmm. I don’t know. I don’t know. To be honest, I don’t know. Nothing is working in Nigeria presently because of our attitude, “I don’t care, all I want is money” over to you NFF.

    Nonetheless, I will keep telling Nigerians the truth no matter what because I want the best for Nigeria. Ire o. God bless Nigeria!!!

    • NA ME TALK AM 6 months ago

      @Omo9ja .. You are quick to mention Algeria at any given topic , Did Algeria miss the AFCON back to back ?

      You said blame the coach and not the players , Do you also praise the coach alone when the team is on the right path ?

      Lampard and Sieten both lost 7-1 and 7-0 respectively to Bayern , Does that make them a bad coach ?

      What is your definition of a technically and tactically sound coach ?

      Pep Guardiola Man-city lost to lowly LYON team last season , does that mean he is not a sound coach tactically and technically ?

      Klop Liverpool lost massively to Aston Villa this season , does that mean he is not a sound coach tactically and technically ?

      Cadiz defeated both Real Madrid and Barcelona this season , Does that implies Cadiz is a better team and their coach is a better Coach ?

      Zidane won the UEFA Champion league and La-Liga , Yet couldn’t defeat Cadiz that just got promoted to La-Liga , Does that mean that he’s not capable enough and doesn’t have the IT factor of a tactically and technically sound coach ?

      I am curious to read your response to the above question

      God bless Nigeria

    • @NA ME TALK AM.

      STOP explaining, analysing & schooling this pple about modern day Soccer.

      Allow them to keep living & wallowing in their 80s & 90s soccer mentallity.

      They always make comparism with pple that use to play jambody football in the 80s when football never experience the light its seeing today.

      @Omo9ja is a very confused type.
      He has succeeded in luring those gullible ones to adhere to him meanwhile he’s a sword with two edges.

      When DARE, NFF, PINNICK inserted “qouto” for HOMEBASE in Rohr’s contract, @omo9ja & his bathalion were singing, dancing, rejoycing, anticipating & jubilating all over CSN.

      Now he’s the same person that want ROHR to invite foreign borns (ADEMOLA, ADARABIOYO, EJARIA, OLISE et all).
      Where will all these players fit in when we have not less than 4 spot reserve for below average HOMEBASEplayers.

      @omo9ja & his troops is making me to believe that the SPELL that our EX & Nff put in their eyes has fallen off.
      But it’s too late.


  • Most people judge a defender, only when he is at fault for a goal. So, if a goal is not scored, the defence is rated highly. But the truth is this….. defenders make lots of mistakes that don’t result in goals. Some of these mistakes are saved by the goal keeper, some are corrected by another defender, while the others result to wasted chances by the opponent. This is why, we should always watch football in between the lines….lol
    As a defender, being solid doesn’t mean perfection. Occassional mistakes and blips are allowed. But when the errors become a regular occurrence, then, the defender can no longer be said to be solid.
    I don’t share the opinion of those who think Ekong is the weakest link in the SE defence. Though he is not perfect, but he is very solid generally.
    At present, there are about six SE defenders I am not so comfortable with. Notable among the six, are Omeruo, Ajayi and Collins.
    After AFCON 2013 where Omeruo shone like a million stars, he has been on a decline ever since then. He makes a lot of school-boy errors that results to goals but most times, don’t result to goals.
    For Ajayi, his major problem has to do with positioning. Against Brazil, I observed this problem but luckily Brazil didn’t score from his lapses. But that was not the case against Lesotho and Sierra Leone. In fact, I blame him to some extent for two of the four goals SL scored. Since he
    is still relatively new in the SE setup, he could still come good later.
    For Collins, he needs to be more solid. Before the game against Brazil, I had noticed his lapses which most times didn’t result to goals. But against Brazil, he was really exposed.

    That we are about having more options in the defence department is really a good development. But the earlier these players join us, the better. Because, some players take a long time to establish themselves in a team

  • I think its clear that some players are not playing up to expectation. Also, with so many options available to the coach and so many players rumoured to joining the team in the coming year, its clear that some players who are currently in the team will be dropped. They are some obvious picks but we will allow the coach to sort that out.
    I think if we want the team to do well, then the right players should play in the right position. All this talk of experience is good when its effective and the team is benefiting from it but when the experienced players are not performing then bench them. Im not satisfied with this idea of playing players out of position. You may say its for a particular reason, but what happens if it backfires like it did against SL. Also, inviting a player based on club form is good, but you have to weigh it against team chemistry. Someone can score 20 goals in a season for their club but cant score 1 goal for their country and you still want to keep using the same person. Playing the same style of football that won’t allow the individual have any impact all to the detriment of the team. Let there be a balance, I have always said it that playing just one style of football isnt the best, it will disappoint you sooner or later. The team has to be flexible and that is why you need professional players who can play in different formations. The coach needs to be more tactically aware, be able to read the game well and take the right decisions that will change the game.

  • Larry 6 months ago

    The coach of Sierra leone exploited SE weakness in Benin. I still believe taking Balogun out was part of the tactics .


    • The SL coach is wrong. If Balogun was not removed for Ajayi, I don’t think they would have equalised. Ajayi’s introduction destabilised the defence.

  • Kingston 6 months ago

    I will pick ekong ahead of ajayi and omeruo. These three players always show dedication and commitment, for that I honor them. But we need to move on. I’ve never really been impressed with ekong. He makes his defense partner do all the work. The reason ekong don’t make obvious mistakes is because he doesn’t get involved in matches. At his best, ekong is a decent player. However, ekong has this Presence, that ability to inspire courage. This quality helps mentally. Also, ekong may not be a world class player but he is sure above championship level. The season has not gone halfway, but ekong has accumulated more man of the match awards than ajayi did in his last two seasons.
    Ajayi may be playing in EPL but I don’t like him. Probably because he is not rugged. For omeruo, his problem is obvious – his age.
    In respect to moving forward, my list: balogun – I fear for him. His age may heighten his prone nature to injury. How can a 32years old be our best defender? Anyway, balogun is obviously my first choice. Akpoguma; awaziem; Jordan tourinhga (if he switches)/adarabioyo; ekong.

    • D-cardinal 6 months ago

      Check how many goals ajayi scored..ekong plays in championship and still gets benched some games unlike ajayi that plays in EPL..I have never seen ekong outstanding in a game..at his best he is average

  • larry 6 months ago

    Currently, Ekong that is playing in the championship has been an unused sub in more number of matches than Ajayi that plays in the premiership.
    Ajayi distinguished himself in the championship, he won the player of the month in March 19 and was shortlisted for the EFL championship player of the season.
    Interms of clubs accolades Ajayi has won more. Ajayi is a better defender than Ekong. Ajayi is better in the Air, positioning, passing, tacking and scoring.
    Ekong is only on the starting 11 because of GR.

  • Larry 6 months ago

    **team of the season**

  • What is more important is that Tijani Babangida came out to distance himself from comments suggesting certain defenders should be dropped from the Super Eagles at this time.

    Such a statement if said will serve no meaningful purpose other than sow discord among players who otherwise appear to enjoy warmth in their relationship.

    The Super Eagles is bottom heavy. The last squad had no less 9 defenders, the largest number across departments. At any point in time, only 2 center defenders can be accommodated in the starting 11 or 3 if the coach elects to go for a back-5.

    With more dual nationalities expected to be signed up in months to come to the Super Eagles defence departments, that area is set to be saturated even further.

    But it’s a good thing. Survival will be to the fittest, meanest and most ruthless.

    At the moment, William Troost Ekong is trending as an under-performing centre defender for Nigeria. This, though, appears to reside mainly with fans and a section of the media. The Watford man still commands the confidence of national team handlers. If he plays regular club football, Ekong will continue to be a regular Super Eagle. His national team experience and exposure can’t be easily discarded. Despite recent struggles he still shows the tendency of one able to reinvent himself.

    Omeruo’s greatest shortcoming has been his inability to add composure to his game despite years of experience. But, those years of experience and the benefits these bring to bear cannot be discounted.

    By now, Omeruo should be used to holding to his place in the Super Eagles by the skin of his teeth. That is not set to change. Balogun also used to struggle with composure, not anymore. The Rangers man is composed, commanding and assured in the way he mans his area.

    But all these guys are already above 27. At best, we can get 2-3 quality years from them.

    The likes of Akpoguma, Awaziem, Ajayi and Valentine Ozornwafor (a ranked outsider at this stage) are all decent center defenders who will put in decent shifts when called upon.

    Awaziem, like Omeruo, would need to add composure to his game. If not, fans will say he also hasn’t improved in years to come. For a tall lad, Semi Ajayi disappoints in aerial duels. His sense of positioning can also do with some brushing up.

    We are yet to see Akpoguma apply himself as a centre defender with the Super Eagles while Valentine Ozornwafor needs to revive his club career fast if he is to revive his ailing Super Eagles ambitions.

    Overall, I think Nigeria has a wide pool of center defenders to choose from. The likes of Ndidi and Bournemouth’s Nathan Oforbor are also viable center defensive options.

    This augurs well for that department. If 1 or 2 of them lose form, there are decent options for Rohr to look to.

    • JimmyBall 6 months ago

      @Deo… Valentine Ozonwafor is far off the pack.

      • ….Which is why I referred to him as a “rank outsider”.

        • Larry 6 months ago

          @Deo, I do understand your reason for rating Ekong higher than Akpo, Ajayi and Awaziem.
          However, based on what these three folks have achieved in the current season and if you decide to rate them based on abilities, I still believe the trio still rank higher in terms of passing, tackling, ball playing skills and versatility.
          As someone that has analyzed most goals conceded by SE, it is obvious that Ekonf is the weakest link and the earlier the coach begins to realize the need for the best partner for Balogun (the best of the pack) the better for the team.
          Despite the influential figure Keshi possessed, Westerhof discovered a need to strengthen the defence and brought in Okafor to replace him and the rest is history (we won the ANC 94).
          @ US 94, Westerhof strengthened the CD further by bringing in Chidi Nwanu in place of Okafor and the rest is history. Perhaps we witnessed the best CD pair of Chidi & Uche.
          Moving forward hinkle,Pairing Balogun with Akpo/Adara remains the best option.
          Ekong has had his chances, its time to strengthen the CD.

  • Very good points Larry.

  • De Star 6 months ago

    @Larry Spot on 

  • Larry 6 months ago

    Thanks @ Deo and De-star..
    I hope GR or whoever is handling SE should understand that competition for places makes a team better. Keshi who suffered similar treatment had to dig into Westerhof’s book of Wisdom to imbibe winning mentality into his team. You may recall during ANC/CHAN 2013, Yobo was the captain and probably one of the untouchables , Keshi benched Yobo for a home based player Oboboana to partner Omeruo in the course of the tournament, same thing he did by dropping another attacking midfielder for a home based player cum the revelation of the tournament Mba(just like Westerhof did with Amuneke), the rest was history, We won the tournament.

  • Larry, thank you very much for your submission. Like I said before, you make very valuable points which are hard to disprove more so as you backed them up with indisputable historical facts.

    The lifeblood of your submissions is that coaches Westerhof and Keshi came to the realisation that they had to change personnel due to underperformance.

    You referenced Keshi (the player), Nosa Igiebor and Yobo having to give way to ‘fresh legs’ who came in to propel the team to success. This is irrefutable.

    Now, what I tried to convey is that the coach has to have an epiphany leading to the need to replace established players.

    Unlike Coaches Keshi and Westerhof, I don’t think that Rohr is dissatisfied with the outputs of Ekong. Until that happens, Ekong will be a mainstay in the Super Eagles.

    See for example when Rohr elected to play Akpoguma as a right fullback ahead of Aina and Ebuehi, a plethora of fans condemned this as sheer madness. Even after Akpoguma’s performances drew intense polemic response against Sierra Leone, Rohr went against the tide of public opinion.

    “I saw that Kevin Akpoguma was one of the best defenders yesterday, so I don’t believe it was a problem for the team,” said Gernot Rohr on this platform immediately after the infamous 4:4 draw against Sierra Leone.

    ” Akpoguma is good in the air and against the tall strikers of Sierra Leone, who like the long balls; he is much better than Ola Aina or Tyronne,” Rohr explained in a manner that showed the strongest possible disregard for those who poured scorn on his decision to bench Aina and Ebuehi for Akpoguma.

    The reason why I gave this example is that Rohr has to see something wrong with any of his players (including Ekong) before he can decide to drop them. The man come across to me as being unfazed by public opinion.

    So, a plausible as your opinion about Ekong, Collins or Omeruo might be, if they are still in the good books of Rohr, they will not be jettisoned.