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OFFICIAL: Rohr Invites Mikel, Ajayi, Obi, CHAN Stars For Poland, Serbia Friendlies

OFFICIAL: Rohr Invites Mikel, Ajayi, Obi, CHAN Stars For Poland, Serbia Friendlies

Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr has listed captain Mikel Obi, midfielder Ogenyi Onazi, Victor Moses as well as Ahly forward Junior Ajayi and African Nations Championship (CHAN) star Gabriel Okechukwu in his 28-man squad to face Poland and Serbia in pre-FIFA World Cup friendly matches this month, the Nigeria Football Federation announced in a press release on Wednesday.

Home-based goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa will be joined by Francis Uzoho and Daniel Akpeyi.


Kenneth Omeruo has been recalled as well as Torino midfielder Joel Obi. CHAN Eagles defender Stephen Eze, now playing in Bulgaria, has also been included.

Russia-based Brian Idowu, who scored against Argentina on his debut in a friendly in Krasnodar in November last year, has also been invited.

Zenith Ziva

Nigeria, who are in the same Russia 2018 group with Argentina, Croatia and Iceland, will face Poland at the 43,000-capacity Stadium Wroclaw on Friday, 23 March.

Four days later, the Eagles will be up against Serbia at The Hive, London – home ground of Barnet FC and London Bees.

These are the first two in a list of six friendly encounters planned for the Super Eagles by the Nigeria Football Federation ahead of the 21st FIFA World Cup finals in the Russian Federation this summer.


Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna, Spain); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba FC); Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa)

Defenders: Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Tyronne Ebuehi (Ado Den Haag, The Netherlands); Olaoluwa Aina (Hull City, England); Elderson Echiejile (Cercle Brugge KSV, Belgium); Brian Idowu (Amkar Perm, Russia); Chidozie Awaziem (Nantes FC, France); William Ekong (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Leon Balogun (FSV Mainz 05, Germany); Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa FC, Turkey); Stephen Eze (Lokomotiv Plovdiv, Bulgaria)

Midfielders: Mikel John Obi (Tianjin Teda, China); Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor FC, Turkey); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (Las Palmas, Spain); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel); Uche Agbo (Standard Liege, Belgium); Joel Obi (Torino FC, Italy)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Moses Simon (KAA Gent, Belgium); Victor Moses (Chelsea FC, England); Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai, China); Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England); Junior Ajayi (Al Ahly, Egypt); Gabriel Okechukwu (Akwa United)

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  • ako amadi 4 years ago

    No real surprises (except for Okechukwu), and no risky experiments! It appears Rohr has made up his mind to go to Russia with willing players and has stopped begging Enyeama and Company to play for Nigeria. This is the best Nigeria can offer, and we cannot manufacture new players out of nothing. Fitness has of course ruled Henry Onyekuru out for now. This list is guaranteed to have omissions and additions after the 2 friendlies which will expose the weaknesses of some players. The coaching crew has done a good job to still identify some good in the CHAN disaster.

    • Ikemba 4 years ago

      what disaster, we came second to the home team with minimal preparation.

      • ako amadi 4 years ago

        It’s a magnificent achievement to be hammered 4-0 in a final? Now, what’s this silly excuse of “minimal” preparation whenever Nigeria loses?

        • ikemba 4 years ago

          A final appearance, no matter how bad does not the tournament it self a disaster. Going into the tournament, I doubt anyone saw us making the final. There is no excuse to the minimal preparation, however lets keep things in perspective.

  • irabor kingsley 4 years ago

    Good list, but what is Daniel Akpeyi doing on that list, Rohr should drop that guy and replace him with Dele Alamkpasu, Daniel Akpeyi is not destined to play for Super Eagles though he is doing well for his club, he has never been superb for eagles

    • irabor kingsley 4 years ago

      I was expecting to see Martins Obagol in that list, he is still inform and can justify his inclusion in the team

      • You got to be kidding me. We are talking about moving forward and you are drawing us backward.what the coach has done is keep shape with the core team and continue the synergy till they blend completely in Russia.Good list

      • Aloba david 4 years ago


    • Bestsports. 4 years ago

      Akpeyi according to the list is already a distance 3 choice goalkeeper. Uzoho is officially number 1. Him na d first name on d list. Watch out.

  • wonderfull list

  • Austin 4 years ago

    nice one. But I must point out some anomalies in the list. First, Daniel akpeyi has no business been part of that list. Ajiboye is a better goalkeeper. Secondly, I would have preferred an Aaron Samuel to a junior ajayi in the attack. He’s been part of the team for some years now and is calm and calculated in front of goal. I hope he gets called up subsequently. Joel obi and Gabriel’s inclusion fantastic.

    • As for me o @Austin i prefer Gabriel than Aaron Samuel cuz he has all the attribute you listed above of Aaron Samuel. So for me his inclusion is Highly commendable

    • Aaron what? Bros abeg park well. Infact he was a confirmed bench warmer with CSKA Moscow until this January when he moved to Amker perm of Russia. He had all the time to impress but he didn’t. The beautiful thing that this coach has done is to ensure that there the team is very settled and also has a synergy which they are building together.Must echiejile start march? His presence in the team will help propel the younger ones. I’m so in love with the list. I would have preferred the CHAN left full back akuohim(not sure I spelt it well) as he is very good with the ball on the ground but the coach has the final say.iys a good list in all

  • I respect mr.Rohr so much it just goes to show you that the coach has been keeping tabs on all Nigerian footballers. This is a strong squad list.

  • Wow! All hail our Able coach Gernot Rohr. This squad here is a Killer squad. Hope Poland and Serbia are ready for 4-1 and 3-0 respectively cuz the quality in this team is just too much. Looks like a World Cup squad to me oo with the exception of Daniel Akpeyi and E. Echeijile. #SoarSuperEagles

  • Hope Odianosen 4 years ago

    I was so happy about the release of the Eagles list until i saw names like Echiejile and Apkeyi who to me they are not suppose to be there, Akpeyi in goal for Nigerira is assumed as empty net for the Eagles while Echiejile is an obvious short one,,,, Brian, Aina, Shehu and Tyronne are far ahead of him.

  • UMUKORO SUNDAY 4 years ago


    • @umukoro Sunday how can u say moses simon should be left out,have u forgotten that he is a core members of this team,weather u like it or not 99percent of those going to Russian already knows themselves and moses simon is among them that is why most of us were not surprised CU’s we already knows those that will be and should be in the list.

      • UMUKORO SUNDAY 4 years ago

        Base on present form Samuel Kalu is far better of Simon Moses , presently is on 7 goals , if am not mistaking , and more consistence than Moses , the only good thing about the list in inclusion of Stephen Eze , people seem to under estimate that guy because he play with chan team , but i saw a guy that will easily break into our first eleven if we play 3 5 2 formation … he have quality for John Terry , he may be raw , he only to be polish

    • oladipo 4 years ago

      You are on point….really think base on current form, Samuel Kalu is miles ahead Moses Simon who is just coming back from injury.

      Anyway, I respect our coaches and the scouts deployed for the team selection.

      Am sure there will b more synergy in the team, this is needed for a successful WC outing

  • lorenzo 4 years ago

    good list except for DAniel akpeyi inclusion and Martins not been called up

  • Hope Odianosen 4 years ago

    I was actually expecting to see players like (Samuel Kalu of Gent),, (Dennis Bonnaventure of Clubrugge) and (Cyriel Dessers of Utrech) in oder to give competition to d likes of Iwobi who is under-performing in Arsenal,,,, Simon who just returned frm injury and Iheanacho who has become a fringe player @ Leicester….

    • Bros wake up. The list shows that the coach knows what he is doing. I’m impressed. Keeping hold of the core will be the key to eagles success to Russia. If you leave Nigerians,even dead Yekini should be giving chance due to his experience.100dsys to go and you want to start bringing a lot of fresh legs into the fold. Bros wake up. A very good list except for Daniel akpeyi

      • oladipo 4 years ago

        Haba..respect the dead.
        You can make your point without disrespecting the legend..Yeking RIP

    • I agree with everyone view and point here, I also feel d list is balanced for now though we already have an idea of some players strength and weakness which their inclusion might be justifiable or not. we also have some players doing well out there that can further strengthing up this squad but are waiting for their chances to be invited. I think the fundamental thing I believe the coaching crew have done is to first invite all d current fitted and experienced players necessary for good planning and style of play for world cup. You will agree with me that total core of new players now will not help planning but you introduces them as time goes on.

    • paul williams 4 years ago

      yes, brother and me to oh!

  • Austin Ejide is doing well in his present club, 10 clean sheets in 16 games for Hapoel Hadera. At least 1 world cup experience goalkeeper at their mist.

  • Radji Afis 4 years ago

    NIGERIA WORLD CUP LIST 2018…Goalkeepers Francis Uzoho, Ikechukwu Ezenwa,Dele Alapasu or *Daniel Akpeyi… Defenders Abdullahi Shehu, Tyrone Ebuechi, Ola Aina,Elderson Echiejile,Brian Idowu, Willian Ekong,Leon Balogun, Keneth Omerou, Midfielders… Mikel Obi,Ogenyi Onazi, Wilfried Ndidi, Oghenekaro Etebo, John Ogu, Joel Obi.Strickers…Ahmed Musa, Kelechi Iheanacho,Moses Simon,Victor Moses,Odion Ighalo, Alex Iwobi.

  • Josleck 4 years ago

    Good list though. As for Akpeyi let’s respect the gaffer decision on him, meanwhile is doing well in his club, what he just need is confidence. As for Echiejile, well is experience is good for him but on a good day when he is inform he can deliver just that I dont see him in the starting eleven. As for Junior Ajayi, Okecjukwe and the likes, they maybe good but I dont see them in the worldcup since only 23 man will be going. All in all this is the best we call offer for

  • Kingmaker 4 years ago

    Great list!
    The Coach deserves commendation for giving some of these players a great opportunity and last chance to redeem themselves, while building chemistry, against 2 excellent teams in the coming friendlies.
    The whole world has taken notice of SE after the stunning victory over 4th ranked Argentina, and would have their spies hovering over venues of friendlies fully on ground to muster vital tips ahead of the WC event.
    But the good news here is that such spy reports would be dry & empty. GR is from Europe too and not new to those tactics. He is also a top spy, u can’t beat him to his game
    No good Chef will reveal his recipe to the public, he only serves u the delicious soup. Rohr is that Chef. His recipe are still not exposed.
    Coach Westerof did a similar experiment vs Sweden ahead of US ’94 where Eagles Waoed the World.
    What is important right now is to see how the TORINO boy, Joel Obi, Junior Ajayi & Stephen Eze can lay claim to a spot on the plane to Russia.
    Good one, kudos, GR!

  • ayodele 4 years ago

    where is willaim troost ekong? this list is empty its just job for the boys

  • ayodele 4 years ago

    nwakeme his been invited once is also a good striker can give good competition in the attack.in the midfield we need a good replacement for mikel obi cause anything can happen and i dont think the coach is looking at that cause the creative department of super eagles does not excite me of which joel obi is injury prone player. the coach should begin to create a senerio where mikel would not be available

    • Mishael 4 years ago

      In Mikel’s absence, Joel Obi can do the work with Ndidi and Etebo

  • Have gone through comments of so many sport loving Nigerians here. And you know what have got to Discovered? Is that Nigerians can never be Satisfied. We all clamoured for the inclusion of Joel Obi, J. Ajayi, and some CHAN Stars and the Gaffer did. And some are still here crying for some old names and new annoying names like Martins,Ejide,Cyril whatever, and co. Common Recieve Sense. Excluding Akpeyi and Echeijile, This list is Superb. No Ejide. I rather Sub. Akpeyi for Alampasu,Ajiboye, and Carl Ikeme is already recovering and will be available by June. So Period

  • Smart coach. When he trims the team down to 23 for the world cup, the few garbage on the list should be gone. He stuck with the same team. Great job coach. No time for experiments.

  • @ ola God bless u! u get sense die…exactly wot am thinking

  • ojo samuel 4 years ago

    this is a killer squad…for the first time i am hopeful of SE…but now that akpeyi has been given another chance , it will be painful if he makes the list after another flop…ejide or ajiboye will be better options which rohr should have tried. i don’t want echiejile in that team. with due respect, he is a legend and he should just doff his hat. he has made his mark already. let him pave for brian, ebuehi and awaziem. moses simon is a nice choice to me. ajayi and j.obi will surely prove their worth as they have always done for their clubs. thank God agu was not called. i would have prefered henry to ajayi but he is nt fit. ajayi and kalu are equal in terms of performance to me. if rohr had chosen kalu or ajayi, it would have been the same. in general, great squad and great world cup squad with the exception of echiejile, u.agbo, s.eze and d.akpeyi if he still fails to impress

  • Darny Arts Anthony 4 years ago

    Akpeyi, Echiejile, Uche Agbo, Omeruo and the CHAN newbies will eventually be dropped from the squad

  • Barring any Injuries, and a super.an display by any of the new arrivals,
    SE Russia 2018 Team will look like this:
    GK: Fra cuz Uzobo,IKECHUKWU Ezenwa,Daniel AKPENYI.

    Wing Backs: Tyrone Ebuehi,SHEHU Abudlahi, Ola Aina, Brian Idowu,

    Center Back: William Ekong, BALOGUN, Kenneth Omeruo, Chidozie Awazie,

    Mid-field: Mikel Obi, Joel Obi, Winifred Ndidi, Oghenekero Etebo, Onazi, John Ogu,

    Attack: Ahmed Musa, Kelechi Iheanacho, Alex Iwobi, Victor Moses, Simon Moses, IGHALO,

    Stand By: Junior Ajayi, Gabriel Okechukwu.

    I will honestly prefer to have one defensive midfielder to be dropped for Gabriel Machine, if and only if he can prove to be a good sub for Mikel Obi, as an attacking midfielder.

    Go SE, BEST OF LUCK AND INJURY FREE! Isee isee iseeeeee.

    • I agree with you bros….people don’t realise that ONLY 23 players will make the list….no matter how we cry…some people must miss out

  • Superman

  • This auto edit software don’t understand African names.

  • vincent Onuigwe 4 years ago

    INJURY FREE boys

  • Shedrach 4 years ago

    We seen the list right, so let us watch them play before we start dropping notes about the players. But for me, this is not final list ,the selection was based on current fitness of each player in their various club. kudos to Gernot R.

  • Francis 4 years ago

    Thanks to the Super coach, I Concord with this list except Daniel akpeyi and Echejile but my preferred are Dele alapasu or AJIBOYE or Carl ekeme if heal before world cup. Kudo for NFF and Technical Crew headed by Coach.

  • Junior ajayi has been fantastic these season with eight goals and nine assist in 23 app. Which give him an edge over aaron samuel who is try to find his footing in the russia league,as for okouwen udoh,the young left back,echiejele has something going for him which experience and exposure which stand against okouwen as for now he can be for the future,but in all a satisfactory list.

  • Ayphillydegreat 4 years ago

    What a list! absolutely fantastic list of able players who are willing to drop their blood for the Nation. This is the best we can offer anywhere in the world. Obviously there will be some omission and addition going forward. I’m particularly happy with the inclusion of Joel Chukwuma Obi. He will be a better option to Onazi. I would’ve love to see Kayode, but he just signed with Shaktar Donesk. So he will need to do a lot to get back into the team. The midfield is packed with exceptional talents in Mikel, Ndidi, Etebo and Obi. #FLY LIKE AN EAGLE INTO THE FUTURE#

    • Tgrace 4 years ago

      @ Ayphillydgreat. I always like to read your comment. Balance response

  • Fidelenny 4 years ago

    I’m impressed with the inclusion of Junior Ajayi and Joel Obi. Both are very matured players. Ajayi Junior has grown in leaps and bounds and I can confidently say barring any form of injuries Ajayi should give the other strikers a run for the money.

    Joel Obi should be having his last chance should grab the opportunity with both hands with telling performance. Perhaps he should be paired along with Mikel Obi and Ndidi Wilfred in the 3man midfield to see what option they present with Onazi on the sub bench.

    • Mishael 4 years ago

      @Fidelenny.Good suggestions of Mikel Obi, Joel Obi, and Wilfred Ndidi in a three man midfield

  • This is good,I mean we can’t ask for more,this is what we have at the moment;atleast for the first time we didn’t see too much new faces and bench warmers like the uchebo, azeez,ameobi etc of 2014 WC.I believe with this hungry squad we gonna do well dis summer…up super eagles …

  • Bryt oni 4 years ago
















  • Bryt oni 4 years ago

    Full 23 for Russia 2018 world cup.





  • Bestsports. 4 years ago

    Croatia have world class Talents littered all over their team. Hmmmm if they gear Nigeria is Blown away! Argentina has got Messi, Dybala, Aguero, Higuien, Icardi, Di Maria, Romero, Rojo, Otamedi, Macherano etc! Could their sensational Attack sudenly flatter? If they do it Hmmm Nigeria will get a trashing. Iceland can feel they could continue to kill giants like they’ve been doing! Nigeria has got to play three games of their lives if they’ve got a chance at all. Steven Eze, Uche agbo, okechukwu, Ajayi junior are players that might finally be chopped off. Idowu as standby cos of Russia language. Rohr is consistent with certain group of players who suffered for the ticket. Joel obi will make it if he work harder but must be injury free! Otherwise he is out! Any player lose form that one is the player cup of tea! He is gone for a fitter player. Rohr! If you try get your tactics spot on? walahi Nigeria could end up with 6 points and top THE group.

    • That is why we have to master the back 3….to limit their opportunities

  • Wanogho 4 years ago

    Wonderful list. Croatia, Iceland and Argentina (Lionel Messi), get ready for some bashing come June 2018. You have nowhere to run.

  • Bestsports. 4 years ago

    Nobody spoke about brown ideye??? Henry onyekuru will be missed! Bonaventure, cyriel desser, samuel kalu, Aaron samuel Esiti, Agu. Their time will come afterall they are still young. But i know that samuel kalu of Gent could have made life so complicated for Rohr because he is got talent and insane dribbling mad skills. Future tins maybe!

  • Guys this is not d final list.some players here will not make d nxt team list,so b patient.we know d core of the team Rohr only need quality bench.as for kalu Samuel his time will come.

  • Israel Busayo 4 years ago

    Is anyone still talking about experience in this modern age; what is Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus’ experience in top flight football before they become painful threats. Leave age and experience out of this, with a good psychologists younger guys will stun the world. PLEASE OFFLOAD Echejile and Akpeyi, Let them go and pray for the team- Ajiboye, Alampasu, the Chan left-full back, and other younger prospect should be boosted psychological and taken to the world cup. IF THEY NEED PSYCHOLOGISTS, I CAN HELP JARE..

    • It baffles me when people talk about Experience in this modern day. I wonder if experience plays football o. With our eyes we will all see The GERMAN Squad for the World cup(Youngsters). You will hardly see 3-4 players that featured @Brazil 2014. Let Fresh and Talented players us abeg. We already have Mikel,Moses,Onazi. Thanks

  • ojo samuel 4 years ago

    my prefered final 23 will be

    gk: f.uzoho, i.ezenwa, d.ajiboye

    def: awaziem, balogun, ekong

    wing backs: ebuehi, shehu, aina, idowu

    mid: j.ogu, j.obi, a.iwobi, m.obi, o.onazi, w.ndidi, o.etebo

    attack: k.iheanacho, o. ighalo , v.moses, a.musa, m.simon, j.ajayi

  • @ Brut On I,
    You 23 man team is almost exact as mine, but for Yes Echiejile.
    Between Ola Aina, Kenneth Omeruo and Echiejile, one person must drop.

    Omeruo is the only sub for BALOGUN or Ekong.
    For #3, we have Idowu, Aina, Echiejile.
    One person must drop.
    My guess is Echejile.

    • bryt oni 4 years ago

      i think omeruo will be dropped

      • Bryt oni 4 years ago

        I watched EZE play for hid New club in Hungary, bro I tell u dat guy go bench omeruo. And Ederson ECHEJIELE can still be dropped too.

  • ojo samuel 4 years ago

    my prefered first eleven against croatia with a 4-3-3 formation as our strength lies in midfield will be


    i can boldly tell you that our midfield is most important against croatia. ndidi and etebo matters most barring any injuries

  • Joshua 4 years ago

    I don’t think it’s a bad idea if invitation is extended to Efe Ambrose, Samuel Kalu,Brown Ideye, Dele Alampasu and Dele Ajiboye as well as Onyekuru and Ikeme (if fit) in subsequent friendlies. As for this list, I agree with the coach.

  • Gideon S 4 years ago

    Wonderful comments in all, this is what SE needs. Competition on every position. The German coach with NFF is on point… injury free guys!

    We, the fans need to do our part,,, support and pray

  • omo9ja 4 years ago

    Hello fellow Nigerians. Kudos to the coaching crews. Good list though exception of Akpeyi.

    Now, just a question to you all.

    Who is going to be our top striker at the world cup, Ghalo or Ajayi?

    Do we have a striker we can rely on in this list, yes or no?

    Do you guys remember what happened against Zambia? Thank God if it wasn’t because of Iwobi, the match would have ended 0-0

    This is world cup which means we are going to play against world best teams and their coaches already knew our strength which we are playing from the wings. They will try to clip down the wings, which means coach Rohr need sharp shooter strikers. A player that playing like “Aghaowa” is needed in this list.

    Eagle lacks top quality strikers during the world cup qualifiers.

    I know my fellow Nigerians well well ooo Chai, if coach Rohr do not getting his tactics right before the world cup or during the tournament, for sure Nigerians will be calling for his head.

    For me seeing Akpeyi in that list means a lot and the time will tell. I repeat again and again, Eagles doesn’t have world class strikers. Therefore, this would coursing a big problem for the team if the coaching crews refused to make some changes. Hmm. We still have 97 days to the event though. Fingers crossed. God bless Nigeria! !!

    • Bryt oni 4 years ago

      IGHALO IHEANACHO any one of them can cause problems for any team in this world cup.

  • Onwuzulikeaustine 4 years ago

    Tottenham think they can stop italian giants juventus but they show them that they are one of the best attacking team in the world.

  • Onwuzulikeaustine 4 years ago


    • Chamberlain Duruike 4 years ago

      did you say lift the…”nations cup”???
      What we are discussing is the world cup and not nations cup.
      Bros please wake up.

  • As Ojo Samuel rightly said that our midfield is the most important against Croatia. If our midfielders could effectively gell together Nigeria would curtail Croatia onslaught for the maximum 3points in the first match

  • @chamberlain, do you have faith in the God?in this current in form SE of our country Nigeria. The NFF and Gernot Rohr coaching crew working so hard to present to us a formidable SE team for Russia 2018.Let us be a good patriotic Nigerian believe in God,believe in Nigeria and believe in Super Eagles that by God’s grace Nigeria will be the first Africa team to lift the World Cup.

  • PapaFem 4 years ago

    My greatest headache going to the world cup is our centre forward. It seems we don’t have a natural 9 who could bury chances and create such for others. I’ve never seen Iheanacho as a natural striker. And to me, Ighalo is too mechanical in his approach when dealing with opposing defenders. He has the physique, but the trickery, that footwork that create spaces in impossible situations is lacking. Many things are lacking in his game and this could prove costly when dealing with organised defenses like that of Iceland. I was expecting the coach to try at least a player like Sadiq Umar who, though young, possesses that ability to trouble the opposing defence. This will also give us the option of like-for-like substitution if at all, we’d need to rest Jude Ighalo. Let’s see how this works out, but overall, I still have the feeling that the team will cause problem for a lot of teams. Good job, coach. At least we’re heading somewhere. There’s commendable degree of transparency in the selection.

  • Gbenga 4 years ago

    U guys are not the coaches.They stay with these players all the time and so know who is fit for their plans.We just sit on our beds making so many funny comments.Don’t be surprised the Akpeyi u people keep killing with ur mouths will clinch d number 1 jersey and then go on to perform excellently well.Seeing all we post about him everyday,it will take a superhuman to be in his shoes and not make mistakes.The coach knows what he sees in him that keeps him inviting him.Remember Amaju could have also suggested to the coach to drop him.Be bold and strong Dan.Don’t be scared about what u read about ursef in the newspapers!Keep working hard.Wshn u d best!