Former Nigeria international and 1997 African Footballer of the Year, Victor Ikpeba has hailed the invitation of Cyriel Dessers and Kingsley Ehizibue to the Super Eagles by Gernot Rohr, Completesports.com reports.
Rohr named Dessers who is currently Dutch Eredivisie top scorer with 15 goals for Heracles and FC Cologne right back, Ehizibue in the 24-man list released ahead of Nigeria’s double-header clash against Sierra Leone in the 2021 AFCON qualifiers later this month.
In a telephone chat with Complete Sports, Ikpeba says Rohr has done well to bring quality players to further fortify the squad as well as provide healthy competition in the national team.
“I think the invitation of Dessers and Ehizibue is a very good move by coach Rohr as it would provide healthy competition for the regular players already in the Eagles as well as give the coach quality options to choose from.
“Rohr is building a new team which is gradually taking shape and there has been a positive progression in the team from the last World Cup in Russia through the AFCON in Egypt last year where we won bronze.
“The national team need all the best players available to further strengthen the team. Inviting the new players during the qualifiers will help them to acclimatize and blend quickly into the team.
“Also, some players have left the team and they must be replaced. Aribo is gradually doing well in the midfield where former captain, Mikel Obi had held sway for several years.
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“And knowing that African football is quite different from that in Europe, bringing the new players at this point will help them to quickly understand the African terrain well ahead of the tournament proper,” said Ikpeba.
Ikpeba also feels that the new Manchester United striker, Odion Ighalo’s decision to retire from national team duty should be respected.
“I am a big fan of Ighalo as well as Victor Moses and it is unfortunate we will be missing their experience because they have both called time on their international career.
“Sometimes, the criticisms we do level on the players can be unfair because they do sacrifice a lot to play for their country. We all remember what happened to Ighalo after the World Cup.
“And now that he did well to emerge the top scorer at the last Nations Cup, one can understand why he decided to go out on a high and I think we need to respect his decision.
“Besides, we have other players now who are doing well in the Eagles’s attack, so everyone is happy,” concludes Ikpeba popularly known as the Prince of Monaco for his exploits in the French Lique 1 in his playing days.
By Sulaiman Alao
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