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CAFCL: Babatunde Shines As Wydad Casablanca Beat Sundowns

CAFCL: Babatunde Shines As Wydad Casablanca Beat Sundowns

Super Eagles forward Michael Babatunde made a strong case to be included in Nigeria’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations squad after he posted a sterling performance in Wydad Casablanca’s 2-1 semi-final first leg win over Mamelodi Sundowns on Friday reports Completesports.com.

Wydad were quick out of the starting blocks, as Salaheddine Saidi’s glancing header six minutes in forced Dennis Onyango into action, while the Sundowns launched their first effort on target 10 minutes through Gaston Sirino’s powerful strike.

A swift counter-attack from the right-side 26 minutes in landed kindly to Saidi, who needed no second invitation to finally beat Onyango for Wyday Casablanca’s opener.

Sundowns went to sleep on 32 minutes as a first-time shot from Ismail El-Haddad give Onyango a few issues, thus needing a defensive clearance to save the day.

Babatunde playing as a false nine forced a brilliant save from Onyango in the 40th minute after a sublime interchange with El-Haddad played him through on goal.

However, Sundowns were level as Anele Ngcongca pounced on poor defending 42 minutes in to head home from a corner.

A minute into the second half, Sundowns were behind once again after Badi Aouk capitalised on sloppy goalkeeping for an easy tap-in.

Sundowns looked to perverse the score and oversaw a 56th minute change as Sirino made way for Phakamani Mahlambi.

Approaching the final quarter, the Wydad kept pushing forward for more goals and almost found a third in the final eight minutes when Themba Zwane’s headed clearance found the post.

As full-time neared, Masandawana failed to find a way back but head to the second-leg in a week’s time with the all-important away goal

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  • “Super Eagles forward Michael Babatunde made a strong case to be included in Nigeria’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations squad…”

    CSN, abeg make una stop that play. If Babatunde has been in contact with one of you about a possible push into Rohr’s consciousness, abeg tell am say that one na jam rock oo.

    This guy (along with about 6 other sub par players Keshi took to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil at the detriment of IK Uche, Obafemi Martins & co) is one of the reasons I started to dislike Stephen Keshi after he had won Afcon 2013.

    The others were Rueben Gabriel, Uche Uchebo, Ejike Uzoenyi, Babatunde Michael, that his favorite home-based goalkeeper etc. Nigeria could have gone a bit far at that World Cup, but after winning Afcon, Keshi got big-headed and started fielding his own boys to “help their careers” in finding good clubs.

    Babatunde and others are good players, but certainly not SE standard.

    In this match, they even won 2-1 at home, so who actually has the advantage? Bad reporting! Sundowns got a vital away goal and will be happy with the scoreline, going into the second leg in South Africa.

    • Oga Kel, I beg to differ o. Michael Babatunde played very well in the 2014 World Cup and performed even better than Victor Moses in that world cup.

      Memories that readily come to mind were: the pass that set up Musa to smash pass the Argerntine’s goalkeeper shortly after going down 1:0; the drive and shots that almost stretched Nigeria’s lead against Bosnia plus his overall application in the 2 matches he featured before having his wrist bones dismantled by a bullet that came out of the nozzle of Onazi’s boots.

      You don’t have to take it from me. Take it from a reputable media outlet – Goal.com – whose 2014 World Cup appraisal of Michael Babatunde is presented below:

      Michael Babatunde: 7 The team’s revelation at the tournament as he enticed and impressed the Super Eagles’ fans with his silky skills and playmaking abilities when played in the hole behind the centre-forward Emmanuel Emenike. Proved the sceptics wrong as he took a few fine long-range shots and provided the assist for Ahmed Musa’s first goal against Argentina. (source: https://www.goal.com/en-ng/news/4082/comment/2014/07/05/4938798/nigeria-world-cup-2014-player-ratings)

      Often, Keshi’s team to the 2014 World Cup is often criticised without firm basis in a manner that disrespects their achievements.

      These same players won the Afcon after a 19 year wait and reached the second round of the world cup a 15 year wait.

      Whilst not being an exceptional player, Babatunde has displayed enough consistency in North African league (where the likes of Chisom Chikatara has struggled) to prove that he is a national team material.

      You referenced Ike Uche and Obafemi Martins who along with Yakubu Aiyegbeni have featured in Afcons and World Cups but failed to reach the dizzy heights of Michael Babatunde and Co.(Ike Uche played a marginal role in the Afcon success of 2013 where Emenike, Mba and others stole the limelight)

      My most enduring image of Ike Uche at the 2008 Afcon was at the quarter-finals when he looked stunned and clapped at Yakubu’s audacious long-range effort that almost caught the Ghanaian goalkeeper off guard as Nigeria crashed out 2:1.

      Michael Babatunde stepped in when Victor Moses failed to show up in Brazil. Appraising Victor Moses overall World Cup performance, goal.com wrote:

      Victor Moses: 4 Was one of the team’s best players leading to the tournament, but failed to stamp his feet in the first match against Iran and was substituted by the coach. Only came back to replace the injured Michael Babatunde in the starting line up against France, making a goal-line clearance in the match but again struggled to exert his influence on the proceedings.

    • Adeniyi 5 years ago

      Uncle, maybe you are beginning to forget the actions at the 2014 worldcup, Michael Babatunde played very well and was untop of his game before he got injured…if you need a recap, go on youtube….especially his outburst that led to Musa’s equalizer against Argentina. Injury was his only nemesis. Babatunde is a very good attacking midfielder….currently, i cant find anyone like him in the SE.

  • ‘God answers prayers’ – Michael Babatunde

    Funny enough, I just came across a CSN YouTube interview of shoulder-strapped Babatunde shortly after the 2014 World Cup.

    In that interview, presented below, I recorded the versatile forward said (about making the match day squad for the Bosnia match):”when the list came out and the coach called me that I would start the game, I was like ‘wow’! this will be a great opportunity for me…..

    When we were going to the pitch, my morale was like; I can’t even wait. I was just praying that God, make me shine today, and God answered my prayers.”


  • Chima E Samuels 5 years ago

    Deo you’re right most of these guys just spill shit out of their mouth even the great onazi today is looked down upon because people forget too soon. Not surprised how often they criticize iheanacho Iwobi and co

    • Chima, I’m very sure you could make your point like @deo did above without referring to a fellow forumite as “spilling shit.” Very uncouth and disrespectful. Very cocky and belittling.

      I know you have sentimental attachment to the late Keshi and he would do no wrong in your sight (even when it’s obvious to everyone else), but please shape up, man! You certainly don’t want to draw my ire. I tell you, you certainly won’t! I promise.

      Unlike deo who marshalled his argument line by line without rancour, you actually made no point than to pour venom on another’s point. You see the difference? Isn’t it clear?

      Now, please NEVER again attach me or my comments with the word “shit,” or you’ll be drawing the battleline for a one-on-one everywhere, everytime here.

      Thanks for your anticipated cooperation.

      • Kel, I beg no vex! The weekend is still very young.

        Please join me in enjoying the silky skills of Babatunde in the video below.

        It seems at times that Rohr has given us a tunnel-vision of players to savour in national team colours because he often than not tries the same cohort of players severally (this is where I sort agree when you call for more competition in the goalkeeping department)


        • @deo and @Sunny b you people are mad if you think your nediocre babatunde will make SE Squad for Afcon please give us a break and @deo what silky skills??, Abeg make we hear word go and sit down jare

      • Bomboy 5 years ago

        I am with you Kel.

        I like Chima, but I dont accept his choice of words in the comment above.

        We must all learn to disagree without using derogatory words. Please other forumites should take note (they all know themselves so no need to mention names).

      • Ayphillydegreat 5 years ago

        LMAO! Terrific response. 

      • Chima E Samuels 5 years ago

        @Kel are you for real I’m just seeing this. You are quite sick to lay a threat at me. Next time think twice bless God this thread has expired else I will wait to see what else you have to offer lol crazy boi

        • Arrogant twat wallowing in delusional grandeur of self-importance. Always trying to come off as cultured but repeatedly failing to keep up the facade/appearance. As inconsistent and two-faced confused as his bouts of confusing comments. You’re the sick one and you’re the “boi.” (You so stink of cockiness and dangerous presumptuousness).

          You’ve used “shit,” “boy,” and “sick.” Emotionally immature brat. So quick to flip and yet can’t take a punch. I’m warning you a 2nd time. Don’t start. Don’t be deceived by your jaundiced illusions of people. I’ll knock you out without a sweat.

          YOU’RE WARNED AGAIN!!!!

  • Sunnyb 5 years ago

    Deo, nice one bro. I would play Babatunde over iheanacho anytime.Babatunde has been constant for years,.

  • Sunnyb 5 years ago


  • @deo and @Sunny b you will are mad if you think your nediocre babatunde will make SE Squad for Afcon please give us a break and @deo what silky skills??, Abeg make we hear word go and sit down jare.

    • Dr. Drey 5 years ago

      Yooooohhhhh……! #knockout #savage
      The stealth of the tiger is not a sign of timidity…LMAO

    • Pompei 5 years ago

      This Ugo Iwunze is a real imbecile. Glad that forumites are beginning to notice what a nuisance he is. Why call other people MAD because they have an opinion that differs from yours? It is UGO IWUNZE that is obviously mad here. The guy don enter market. Hiding behind computer to insult your superiors. Rubbish!

      • Chima E Samuels 5 years ago

        Many mad guys like this hiding behind computer using false names and fake title like Dr, Almighty and Jehovah this country craze no get cure o evidence of mental state.

  • Adisboy 5 years ago

    At no point in Nigerian soccer history can Babatunde make an SE squad chosen solely on merit. There’s no two ways about it.

  • Sunnyb 5 years ago

    @deo, bro please don’t waste your time in replying that guy. Bro,you should be able to spot a loser easily, insulting people is the norm in there household..Ejike Uzoenyi,Azubuike  Egweekwe,Uche Nwafor, Michael Uchebo, chigizie Agbam and Ruben Gabriel made 2014 World Cup. On merits right?By the way nobody is talking about babatunde making 2019 Afcon  squad,  

    • I ain’t taking crap from nobody anymore bro; but thanks.

      • Bomboy 5 years ago

        doe, He called you names deliberately so you would react. Some teenagers do visit this forum, and calling people names makes them feel big.

        You are an honourable guy. I can testify to that. Take the higher ground like you always do andput him to shame.


        • Thanks Bomboy, I did lose it a bit.

          Please forgive my poor choice of words but I am coming to find certain responses wholly unacceptable and I may choose not to turn the other cheek anymore.

        • Also, my name is nor doe o! Just kidding (Lol)

    • Bro Sunny B, thanks; much appreciated.

      What is merit in football team selection context ? Merit, I would argue, can be defined as the act of a national team coach selecting players he or she believes fits into his plans and philosophy, regardless of where the player plays his football or whatever fans might think, so long as the coach has a firm belief that the players selected will bring success and make the team match previous successes or even surpass these.

      That, for me, is the definition of ‘team selection based on merit.’

      The likes of Ighalo, Uzoho and Akpeyi have been sited as evidence that Rohr does not select his team on merit.

      Utter rubbish!

      I am not a fan of some of the players that Rohr invites however, I have the presence of mind to appreciate that Rohr has been employed to do a job and he will select players that he believes will help him get the job done – regardless of whatever I or Others might thinks!

      The same applies to previous coaches.

      Keshi selected a cohort of players that he believed will help him achieve key milestones:

      -Qualify for Afcon: achieved
      -Reach Afcon semi finals : achieved
      -Win Afcon (ambitious): achieved
      -Qualify for first ever chan: achieved
      -Win something in chan: achieved
      -Qualify for World Cup: achieved
      -Reach at least second round at world cup : achieved.
      -Be the only Nigerian team captain and coach of Afcon in history: achieved

      So, with all of these achievements, the merit of his team selections is still vilified.

      They blame poor selection for not defeating France (who have won the World Cup twice in only six recent tournaments).

      At least his team selection got us to the world cup and then to the second round – in the first instance!!!!!!!

  • Garre 5 years ago

    Honestly i have always been a reader on this forum and to be honest Babatunde was one of our best players in that world cup..If you doubts go and watch our matches without bias mind and you would agree with me that he was one of our best players..Sometimes i wonder why the present coach don’t invite him.It’s such a shame because he does has a lot to offer to the super eagles so Rohr give this man a chance to prove himself..

    • Men, you are good. Your analysis is devoid of any bias.
      Well done.

  • Pompei 5 years ago

    Back to football….what I saw of Michael Babatunde in the video above is quite impressive. A natural lefty. Good dribbling and passing skills, not shot shy, and quite nifty with the dead ball. He made some good attempts at goal with free kicks. He can play as a winger or in the midfield. Looks like he has improved in his time with Wydad. I personally would not bat an eyelid if Rohr decides to give him a chance. He will have his work cut out though, competing with his more popular SE team mates.

    • Yes, he does appear to have improved. He could be a short term solution to the attacking midfielder gap that exists – perhaps as a back up to Iwobi who is only the credible option in that position at the moment.

      I also spotted the way he wriggles out of tight situations with several tacklers in attacking midfield position. It was the same way he created something out of nothing to provide that assist for Musa against Argentina in 2014.

  • Chima E Samuels 5 years ago

    Babatunde has always been consistent when playing in the creative middle hole just behind the striker due to his eye for killer pass and working between the gaps of defender and when it comes to shot at goal like stated above he is very deadly. We should make no mistake to undermine his team because not many Nigerian players can hold their own in North African top teams but he is able to deal with the pressure and policy that comes to bear and hold down the ten jersey of the Casablanca team. Now it is left for the chance to be given to him by Rohr of which I doubt he will get as we keep looking for a natural ten.

    • Pompei 5 years ago

      You make a great point, Chima. For Babatunde to be thriving in a top Moroccan club with all the pressure, it shows how mentally resilient he is. It is not easy. I also agree that he does well playing in the hole behind the striker. It’s up to Rohr to decide if he needs him or not.

  • Sunnyb 5 years ago

    For this year  Afcon competition I think babatunde could be very useful in that attacking position if Rohr is bold enough to give him a chance. I still ve  my doubts about iwobi in that number Ten position.babatunde can shoot, he tracks back and is stronger than Iwobi the guy is not a bad player.Forget him playing in Africa, Zambia won their Afcon with mostly home based players.

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