–Blasts Big Boss for inviting unknown players to national team
Former Nigeria forward Victor Ikpeba has lashed out at coach Stephen Keshi over his decision to call up ‘rookies’ for the must-win pair of 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Sudan this month.
The Super Eagles, reigning African champions, could miss out on defending their title in Morocco if they fail to win both matches after starting on a wrong footing last month.
Nigeria lost 3-2 to Congo in Calabar before pulling a listless goalless draw in Cape Town against South Africa and sit third on the table with a single point out of a possible six.
While the out-of-contract Keshi insists he is still building a good squad by handing fresh call ups to several new players, Ikpeba has raised the alarm over the possibility of the country missing out on qualifying due to the Big Boss’ self-serving posturing.
As part of his 24-man squad for the double-header against Sudan, Keshi called up Aaron Samuel of Guangzhou R&F in China, Emmanuel Sunday on SV ScholzGrodig, Austria, Anyora Ugonna of Haugesund FC, Norway and Hope Akpan of Reading FC, England. The 52-year-old has ignored more experienced campaigners Ikechukwu Uche of Villareal, Obafemi Martins of Seattle Sounders and new kid on the block Kelechi Iheanacho of Manchester City.
“For how long will Keshi build the Eagles,” Ikpeba who won the African Player of the Year award in 1997 asked in a Vanguard interview.
“He has been building this team since 2012 and still wants to continue building in 2014. No. What type of builder is he? His success in South Africa where he won the Nations Cup was a collective effort.