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Championship: Mikel, Ajayi Lose With Middlesbrough, Rotherham United

Championship: Mikel,  Ajayi Lose  With Middlesbrough,  Rotherham United

Super Eagles captain John Mikel Obi ended on the losing side as Middlesbrough suffered a 2-1 home defeat against Brentford in their Championship clash at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday,  reports Completesports.com.

Ashley Fletcher opened scoring for the home team in the sixth minute of the encounter.


Brentford  equalised when Bryan Shotton scored an own goal in the 70th minute, while Mohamed Benrahama scored the winning goal three minutes later.

Mikel who was cautioned in the 38th minute has now featured in seven Championship club for Boro.

Zenith Ziva

At the Brammal Lane, Semi Ajayi also ended on the losing side following Rotherham United’s 2-0 away defeat to promotion chasers Sheffield United.

Rotherham United played almost the entire game with 10-men after Will Vaulks was sent off in the 28th minute.

Ajayi has featured in all 36 Championship games for Rotherham United with four goals to his name.

Jack O’connell and Mark Duffy scored both goals for Sheffield United in the game.

Oghenekaro Etebo missed out through injury as Queens Park Rangers and Stoke City battled to a 1-1 draw in another Championship game at the Loftus Road.

Etebo who scored his maiden goal for the Potters in the 2-0 win against Nothingham Forest last weekend picked up the injury in the game.

Former Super Eagles defender Ambrose Efe debut for Derby County was further delayed as he was left out of the squad in their 1-1 home draw against Sheffield Wednesday.

By Adeboye Amosu

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  • Edoman of NewJersey,USA 3 years ago

    Etebo is now injured. He can not play next week for Nigeria. Rohr gonna take that into the equation now, wouldn’t he?

    • It seems Gernot Rohr is only scounting for Strikers and given little or no attention to our Midfield, especially getting a playmaker.Etebo played this position in the world cup but had an average performance.Why not he scout and invite quality midfielders to replace those inactive and injured players like Etebo

    • Yep he will. We still have Ndidi and Ajayi plus Ogu who are midfield specialists.

      We have also seen Aina and Shehu Abusillahi play midfield for their clubs in recent weeks, plus Awaziem can also play DM. So that’s at least six players for two positions against the Seychelles

    • Chima E Samuels 3 years ago

      This is a dead rubber game Rohr should use this game to play to test is options or planB if he has any this was exactly why I wanted to see Chukwueze Awoniyi in the attack and even a midfield comprising of Semi Ajayi plus Ola Aina who has been doing well from midfield position at their clubs. Instead of Inviting Ighalo Musa and co that he already knows how they play. These are the reasons why if our team are in a tight corner the coach has no plan B or different variety of player to throw into the game as a match changer. Rohr is a foreign coach but he is not really different from our local league coaches. A friend once said our coach has a Nigerian blood

      • @Chima, but there is also the compelling argument that the longer a settled team plays together in competitive matches, the more they understand what each other requires to flourish.

        Musa and Ighalo only just gelled in the first Seychelles game and consolidated in the Libya game, that is only three matches where they have lit up the stage. This next game is an opportunity for them to further cement their partnership.

        Yes, I’m also disappointed that Chukwueze did not get a call up, also disappointed that Awoniyi wasn’t called up as well, these are stellar names on the lips of every Nigerian. You could also argue that Nwakaeme of Trabzonspor should be looked at, he has now scored 3 goals in 4 games, but the coach can only call up 23 players. At this time our plan B in attack is Osimhen/Onyekuru/Moses Simon/Onuachu and I will argue that those 4 equally deserve their place in the squad.

        We have the added advantage of the under 23 squad playing two competitive matches against Libya the same weekend and both Sam and Taiwo could fit into that squad age-wise so not completely a wasted opportunity.

        As for plan B, that is what the Egypt game is about, we also have an international break for the whole of June (end of football season in most zones), so another couple of opportunities to test both the first team and the plan B.

        We have to work on both plans simultaneously (plan A and plan B) and there is scope to see all 4 names in a Super eagles shirt before AFCON.

        Personally I would have preferred to see Ozornwafor in the Under 23s (one step up) and his place taken up by one of our previous Golden Eaglets of 2013 or 2015, but I have learnt not to second guess Rohr’s selection policy.

        So far since the end of the world cup, we have moved forward and if we compare to where we were in 2016 and 2017 we have grown in leaps and bounds.

  • Glory. 3 years ago

    Rohr truly Messed up, regarding the list for this dead rubber games. Any sensible coach who has the interest of our country would have used this very rear opportunity to cap players with dual nationality. Even if they fail to make the team to Afcon 2019,we will have a great pool of players to pick from in future. I wonder why Rohr couldn’t extend invitation to Brendford’s Odubajo,Cyriel Dresser,Onisiwo, Jordan Ibe n many others, now interested in playing for Nigeria. Somehow,I am now beginning to suspect Rohr don’t really care about Nigeria. He is just not working anymore. He comes and just assembles same players, they win or fail to win doesn’t bother him. Not surprising, he has not been able to convince players with dual nationality to play. The few that have come in were done by Nigerian agents.

    • Chima E Samuels 3 years ago

      Kpapka movement I still remember that motto

    • On thesame page with you. Spot on

    • Cyril Dessers currently injured (62 days and counting) and not available for Call up nor selection.

      Stats for this season 
      Dessers 10 games 4 goals 1 assist
      Jordon Ibe 21 games2 goals 1 assist
      Odubajo 19 games 1 assist

      Compare with
      Onyekuru 32 games 9 goals 2 assists
      Onuachu 30 games 17 goals 6 assists
      Osimhen 25 games 11 goals

      I’m sure you will agree that the currently selected (plan b team) are more deserving and correct

      • Ayphillydegreat 3 years ago

        That’s how you shut them off with facts. I can only accept Odubajo for a chance in the Right Back position. Cyril Deserts ko Dersert warrior ni. Infact any coach who invites Jordan Ibe abi Jordan Hybe should be queried. They always have a problem with the coaches selections yet the players they want to be invited are way inferior to the ones called up.

        • Glory. 3 years ago

          Only ignorant people understand keeping others quiet as being shot down. The point is using such dead rubber games to tie down players of dual nationality for future assignments because it’s very difficult to get this kind of opportunities. England, Germany, Morocco, n many other sensible nations are doing that today.

          • Ayphillydegreat 3 years ago

            As long as your foreign born players are not better than what we already have we don’t need them to distrupt our team chemistry. Except a foreign born player is exceptionally talented he can never be better than what we already have in the SuperEagles. Your so called foreign talents haven’t even been consistent and you want them invited?? Lord have mercy. We do not have much windows left before the AFCON so the chemistry of the team is important.

          • Glory. 3 years ago

            Lol you must be dreaming to think nigeria has got players already apart from d old guards like Mikel, Balogun etc. Get me right it’s not about foreign or home based n also it’s not about replacing this present team but about capping players n creating a big pool to pick players from in the future.We didn’t do this reason after 1994 we are still struggling.

          • Ayphillydegreat 3 years ago

            We already have a large pool of players to chose from. Our U17 teams of 2013 and 2015 are already forming the bedrock of the SuperEagles. Like I said any foreign born must be exceptionally talented to brake into the current SuperEagles not mediocre foreign born who are hardly consistent.

          • Glory. 3 years ago

            I m sure you would have said Dele Alli was a mediocre player whilst he was at MK Dons. It’s takes someone with an eagle eye to see potential quality players. And you talking we already have under whatsoever ever players. How many of them are playing well at d moment even though I agree with you that some of them like Chibuize are quality.

      • Dr. Drey 3 years ago

        Hehehehehe….facts don lie. Statistics dont lie. An informed mind can never be deformed. LMAO. Betta dual nationality Nigerians dey to cap, na people like Jordan Hybe and Nedum Onuoha who rub shit on us we will go and rush to cap abi. Pls now that we are not rushing to cap them, whc other countries are rushing to cap them…?? ooooooohhhh…that says much about their quality. It is that Tammy Abraham i am just watching with one corner of my eye. God sparing our lives we will see how far he will go with his 3 lions ambitions. Abi na today…? Carlton Cole, Shola Ameobi, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Sidney Sam, Patrick owomoyela, Dennis Aogo…..then plenty wey i nor fit mention them finish

  • BigD you are spot on!

    You see, it is all about timing and this – with the Africa Cup of Nations less than 4 months away – is not the right time for wholesale experimentation (in my humble opinion).

    Yes, you can experiment with few players on certain departments but now, Rohr needs to get his starting 11 playing together at the slightest opportunity with a major tournament only weeks away.

    By having teams that resemble his starting 11 play in matches between now and the Afcon, this should help Rohr’s Eagles achieve the following:
    ° Cohesion
    ° Discipline.
    ° Understanding
    ° Organisation
    ° Camaraderie
    ° Coordination
    ° Blending
    ° And Focus.

    If a major tournament was, let’s say, 12 months away, then it will make sense to invite many players and put out a totally unrecognisable starting 11 in the coming matches with a view unearth fresh legs.

    But, timing is key. Rohr, in my view, needs to be blending his key players with the Afcon only a few weeks away.

    Even if he gives fringe players a chance, these should be with a view of lining them up to quickly replacing any injured or out-of-form regulars.

    _Rohr’s Eagles_

    Gernot Rohr’s Super Eagles has already taken shape (in my view).

    – He has his 3 goalkeepers (who only just recently are now going through individual crisis with Uzoho’s medical certificate scandal, Akpeyi’s loss of starting slot and Ezenwa’s recent injury layoff).
    Still, Rohr appears to be willing to gloss over these shortcomings if they look sharp in training for national assignments.

    – Rohr has his defenders as is not expected to seek reinforcements in that area.

    – Rohr has plethora of options of players he has worked with in the defensive midfield department.

    – Attacking midfield is an area where Rohr will have to make do with Mikel Obi, Iwobi or Iheanacho (if he gets a recall which looks doubtful). Otherwise, there is Etebo. This department is currently a weak-link of the super eagles, in my view.

    – Wingers: Rohr has too many wingers so much so that he is spoilt for choice; many of whom he has worked with.

    – Strikers: with Iheanacho’s exclusion and non-invitation of Simmy and Junior Lokosa, there is vacancy (in my view) for at least one more striker. Paul Onuachu will do well to seize this golden opportunity to stake a claim in the team.

    • I think the major areas that need reinforcement are the Goalkeeping and Attacking Midfield departments. But sadly, Rohr has been non-challant to trying out new players in these areas.

      • @Akin, the only Nigerian goalkeeper who was in action the entire last week was Olufemi Kayode of Lobi Stars.
        He shipped 3 goals against Mamelodi Sundowns. But he also made 5 saves, 2 clearances/shutdowns.
        All the rest were benched (Akpeyi and Osigwe) or missing from their squads – Alampasu, Uzoho, Nwolokor or didn’t have matches – Ezenwa and the entire NPFL suspended for elections.
        There are simply no goalkeepers to choose from except we look at youth teams (our under 20 or youth goalkeepers from European teams) and that is what Rohr did to bring up Uzoho.

        As for attacking/Central midfielder, there might be a few options in the”lower leagues”, Atiemwen (23 games, 8 goals 5 assists with his last club) was just bought by the Croatian league leader Dinamo Zagreb and is currently on the bench being eased into action.
        Ifeanyi Mathew (30 games 4 goals with his last club) just moved to Turkish first Division side Omanlispor.
        Kingsley Michael (23 games, 1 goal) for Perugia

        But they are simply not better at this time than Iwobi and Etebo at this time

  • @Akin, It was Rohr who installed Uzoho as a national team player after experimenting with Alapamsu and Ezenwa.

    _Shortage of Attacking Midfielders_

    It continues to baffle me why Nigeria has been able to consistently produce top quality attacking/central midfielders in the last 15 years.

    I just cannot put my finger on it!

    That is a position that requires massive football intelligence:the ability to read a game; deliver defence-splitting passes; retain possession ; dictate the tempo; embark on mazy and purposeful runs; draw fouls from just outside the 18 yard box; launch long-balls to key areas; and be the playmaker.

    We just don’t seem to produce the kinds of players enough anymore.

    Here are some that showed promise :

    ° Mikel Obi- Jose Mourinho converted him to a defensive midfielder.
    ° Haruna Lookman- couldn’t live up to expectations of the role.
    ° Nosa Igiebor – chronically inconsistent in that role so much so that he lost his place (as a foreign based professional) to home-based Sunday Mba in Afcon 2013.
    ° Sunday Mba – unable to replicate his Afcon 2013 form before fading to oblivion shortly afterwards.
    ° Rabiu Ibrahim – was never able to carry forward his underage performances to senior top flight football.
    ° Etebo – full of endeavour but often shows inadequate industry or intelligence to be regarded as an attacking midfielder of repute.
    ° Iheanacho – fast fading as a force in Nigerian football. Having played as a midfielder in junior football, he was converted to a striker by Man City and Rohr but even in that role, he has failed to convince.

    So, I don’t think it is the fault of Gernot Rohr that, as a country, we are not producing enough attacking/central midfielders.

    • Bomboy 3 years ago

      Oga deo, maybe Iheanacho should have been left in the middield!

      The messed up the guy by converting him from the role where he shone like a million stars during the U17 tournament.

    • Ikeben 3 years ago

      @Deo, I will not agree with you that Nigeria has failed to produce great attacking midfielders in the last 15yrs. The reason, there seem to be a scarcity of AM, is because our coaches, both local and foreign are not looking at those who excelled in these positions at age grade level. Examples include, we have
      Abdul Ajagun that that excelled in this position in U-20 world cup in 2013 and still doing great but had never been called up to senior team, having played both in Europa and champion league in the past.
      Kingsley Sokari, this was regarded as the Nigerian Iniesta. Played at U-17, U-20,U-23 level. Was supposed to be part of the last Olympic team, only to be expelled from camp by Siasia for insisting on going to celebrate with his club, Eyimba that just won the NPFL that year. Presently playing in Tunisia.
      Ovie Ejaria, is another option that is still available to play for Nigeria. He even trained with Nigeria U-17 In 2013. And stated in 2014 he will love to represent Nigeria. Won the U-20 world cup with England in 2017. Currently a Liverpool player on loan at Reading.
      And much more.

      So I expect that, due to the apparent need in this area, our should extend his search and get a backup to Iwobi or even a better AM than Iwobi or Etebo.

      • Thanks Ikeben. Of course there are midfielders out there but how good are they and how consistent have they been?

        Abdul Ajagun: in the eyes of the likes of the Late Keshi, Oliseh and Rohr, Azeez has been seen not to be as good as Nosa Igiebor, Sunday Mba, Raymond Azeez, Haruna Lookman, Rabiu Ibrahim, Etebo, Musa, Mikel Obi and Iwobi.

        Kingley Sokari: In my view, the current Super Eagles coaching crew do not feel that Sokari has done enough to warrant a look-in. Technically, they believe they have more accomplished central midfielders (Etebo,Iwobi,Mikel Obi, Iheanacho) at this time.

        Sokari is decent – no doubt; but I would rather have Raymond Azeez in my fantasy Super Eagles team than Sokari.

        Ovie Ejaria: a recent under-20 internation who is still finding his way in senior football.

        I agree with you that the coaching crew should seek to unearth a another decent midfielder but I struggle to come up with convincing canditates.

        Do you remember Sunday Mba’s purposeful runs and quality finishes against Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso in 2013? we need midfielders who can do that very often – midfielders like Liverpool’s Alex Oxlade Chamberlain.

        I don’t think we have produced attacking midfielders who have performed consistently enough at a high level.


    ***It continues to baffle me why Nigeria HAS NOT been able to consistently produce top quality attacking/central midfielders in the last 15 years.

  • greenturf 3 years ago

    Rohr has done remarkably well in the few years he has been in the helms of affairs of the super eagles.
    I was a little taken aback by the lack of knowledge of some super eagles fans of his sensational achievements which is so palpable.
    Having said that,I think the gaffer has exhausted his search and the group he has now is about the best Nigeria has in the planet earth and any player that requires nationality change has to be better than what he has at the moment otherwise it’s rather absurd or should i say pointless to make such irrelevant changes.
    Meanwhile,I think he has a list of about 35 of the best players Nigeria has after extensive scouting over the years.So any 23 players invited from this group are about the most current in form from this list of let say 35.Though you get a player who burst into limelight now and again outside this list of possible 35 but that player must be hugely talented such examples are Collins and Semi Ajayi.
    To a great or significant extent,Rohr is doing a magnificent job extremely beautiful,comparing him with a Nigerian coach is rather unnecessary.His applications are basic standards in Europe where the best statistically are invited without sentiments.
    Apparently,he’s on the right track and with his guidance we are sure of going to Egypt with the best and inform players Nigeria has but whether we shall come home with the cup is another thing,you need a bit of luck even with a brilliant group of professionals to achieve that don’t you?

    • Walking 3 years ago

      @greenturf… Sense will not kill you..
      Your contribution is intact.
      The only thing I have overtime is that, the super eagles hardly call up left footed players and this I believe do contribute immensely to the change tactics and style of play of any team..
      I would have loved to see Samuel Chukwueze on the list..

  • very good players

  • Bomboy 3 years ago

    If Etebo is injured, I expect Mr Rohr to call up Chukwueze even though they don’t play exactly the same role.

    • Pompei 3 years ago

      Actually, I think Chukwueze could play the attacking midfield role comfortably. He has all the qualities of a trequartista. Vision to pick a pass, close control, dribbling ability, mazy runs, good off-the-ball movement, and his left footed shots have been compared to Arjen Robben in quality. Just take a look at his last goal against Levante. Beautiful curled effort. Robben probably sent him a text message after that match, lol. In my opinion, Nigeria’s best options at the moment for the attacking midfield role are Iwobi and Chukwueze.

  • @Deo good observation. player who could be next jay jay was etebo, but foolishness, with low wit, unable to understand simple attribute of attacking midfield. beside etebo has what it takes to be such, where is the sense to understand??. iwobi so inteligent to understand the attribute of attacking midfield, just that he stil never understand how to place hand and mostly foot within the ball before shooting and 3rd he never fix his eyes on ball before unleash it and this one is very important after looking the keeper and goal post next is to fix eyes on the ball to shoot. or else u can never have good shooting. i experienced it for many years and it was always my weak point in futbol, befor i keep intent eyes on messi ronaldo nd my iheanacho nd try it pratically, now am perfect shooter.

  • balorx 3 years ago

    @bomboy…. rohr doesn’t change his plans at die minutes… he would rather leave the like that… remember the world cup list , with fans expecting rohr to release a 32-man provisional list, he released about 24… hopefully chukwueze gets his opportunity next time

  • Glory. 3 years ago

    @ Aphillydgreat, in as much as I respect ur view, I will say u re getting my point completely wrong. See yeah, home based with quality will always be ours but these foreign born are being snatched out of our hands daily. Dele Alli, David Alaba, n many would have been playing for Nigeria today if only we moved for them early enough. And you saying Jordan Ibe isn’t a good player seemly bcos of some very misleading statistics that never really translate to good performance at national level. Remember Ruben Agboola that Westerhof invited to play for Super Eagles, he wasn’t even playing for his club but did fantastically well when he came to play for Nigeria. Club football is very very different from national team football. Reason I won’t be surprised if this ends up to be the last invite for Onuachu. I only need one touch of a player on d ball to know a quality player. And I can tell u for sure that Jordan Ibe, Odubajo,Ozorumwafor, This guy scoring constantly from Awka utd. etc are all quality players.

    • Ayphillydegreat 3 years ago

      Jordan Hybe is not better than Onyekuru or Moses Simon. Odubajo is the only one I will recommend for a spot at RB. Even though we have other options. Ozornwanfor is there for the experience and a huge potential, but he’s not foreign born. We discovered him through our youth teams and local league.

  • Abdul Andah 3 years ago

    If Rohr really knows what he wants then, he will need to include Samuel chukweze in his Afcon plans. That guy is a wizard! Samu is our joker to the Afcon and there are no two ways about it.

    pls guys, I urge you all to take your VAR and watch Samu closely and you will agree with me that his type of wing play is unlike the wingers eagles can boast of right now. I will put it to you that Samu is the only winger who possesses far better shooting accuracy amongst other wingers in the team presently. He can score from outside the box18 with wonderful curling effort and it is not fluke rather part of his trades mark on the pitch of play.
    What Samu just need from a sound coach is words of an encouragement and he will go there and dazzle.
    Remember that out of the Nigerian wingers today Samu is the only left footed player. Left footed players are always very trickish.
    If Rohr knows his Onion prior to the nations cup then, Samu is one of the answers. He can comfortably operate from no.10 as well with Sublime passing ability.