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ROAD TO RUSSIA: Which CHAN Eagles Stars Should Be In Rohr’s World Cup Squad?

ROAD TO RUSSIA: Which CHAN Eagles Stars Should Be In Rohr’s World Cup Squad?

The home-based Super Eagles made history at the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Morocco by becoming the first Nigerian team to reach the tournament’s final.

Although Salisu Yusuf’s side were well beaten in the final by the hosts, they did well to go that far in the first place. Nigeria crashed out in the first round in 2016 and lost in the semi-finals before winning bronze in 2014.

This present team were driven to that final by the excellent performances of some of the players, some of whom will have ambitions of taking a few steps higher in their international careers.

The biggest stage is obviously the World Cup with the main Super Eagles squad, but how many of these Home Eagles stars, if any, are good enough for Gernot Rohr’s Russia 2018 World Cup squad?

Zenith Ziva

The goalkeepers Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Dele Ajiboye, who both displayed top-class qualities in pulling off unbelievable saves? The giant centre-back Stephen Eze who had a very good tournament and marshalled the defence brilliantly at least until the collapse in the final? The young forwards Ikechukwu Gabriel and Sunday Faleye whose potential is not in doubt? Or the young left-back Ikouwen Udoh who showed great composure and stood out in almost all the games?

Who among these Home Eagles stars do you reckon should be on the plane to Russia or at least be given a shot to fight for a place?

It is time again to have your say as Completesportsnigeria.com continue our Road To Russia World Cup Debate series.
Use the ‘Leave a Reply’ field to air your views. Comments on Facebook are also welcome.

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  • Considering the quality of players already available for each position in the Super Eagles, I believe only Ezenwa, Ajiboye, Stephen Eze, Ikouwem Udoh and maybe Orji can realistically fight for a place in the World Cup squad.
    Apart from those, I can’t think of any other that impressed enough to be considered.

  • For me, it’s in this order: Ikouwem, Orji, Eze, Ezenwa, Eneji Moses, and Ajiboye. The others can’t make the cut. Faleye, maybe, but he got injured. It annoys every time I think about that Opkotu guy jogging leisurely on the field like a ‘big man’ waiting fo a loose ball while others fight for the ball. Even Messi and Suarez fight for the ball. Salisu Yusuf too should be dropped, and Amuneke selected to assist Rohr.

    • which of the moses eneji?? The one that caused catastrophie for us in his first and only appearance!!

      • frydey 4 years ago

        I tire…. O,wen he made d tackle that earn him d second yellow, right from were I was I knew he was a gonner,he cost us that match.

    • vincent Onuigwe 4 years ago

      Thank you bro, that so called Salisu Yusuf , do not know how to use opotu ,he is a good player ,but always like to play to Salisu Yusuf experience instruction . you also chose best player of the terms .

      Let Salisu Yusuf shoure be fired , he disgrace us in Ghana and also now in morocco , in the group stage he never onside 4 =0 but in every final he concide 4-1 or 4=0 ,

    • Like many other Nigerians I was disappointed with Okpotu’s misses in the game prior to the final, but the biggest mistake Coach Salisu Yusuf made was to drop Okpotu during the final game. That was purely a sentimental decision based on the outcry of the fans, most of whom view the game mainly from aesthetic perspective without much tactical awareness. The decision to drop Okpotu totally changed the dynamics of the team. The fans noticed Okpotu’s profligacy in front of goal only because Okpotu usually managed to get himself into scoring positions – something that no other player in the team could effectively do. Despite his poor goal conversion ratio, Okpotu played a very important role in the team – his ball holding ability, runnings, and constant threats in front of the goal area keeps the opponents defence busy, and gives the Nigerian team the opportunity to organise themselves for further attacks or effectively defend when the opponent attacks. Furthermore, Okpotu tracks back into the midfield to fight for ball thereby improving the teams fighting ability when defending. Those are the vital attributes that were missing during the final game. By the time he was brought in during the second half, the damage had already been done.
      As skilful as Gabriel is, he is at best a support striker who functions better cutting in behind a main striker. Unfortunately Gabriel is also a very lazy player – something he has to overcome if he wants to make something meaningful out of his career. Gabriel could hardly track back to support the midfield when needed and was easily frustrated by the lack of service from the midfield. In such situations, Okpotu drops back to fight for ball and help the team curtail the opponent.
      I believe Okpotu will end up a very good striker if he gets a good coach to help him improve his proficiency in front of goal. As for Gabriel, someone needs to let him realise that football is beyond talent. He has to potential to do very well as a player, but he must realise that 90% of success is based on hard work rather than talent.
      On the whole, I think it was a good exposure for those players. Certainly they would have done better with a more technically sound coach. Though, Coach Yusuf cannot be denied his achievement of taking Nigeria to the finals of the competition for the first time. NFF also needs to pay more attention to this championship as it is getting bigger and bigger. It may just be the boost needed to improve our league as the players now have something to aspire to – something that will give them a more direct exposure to foreign professional careers instead of endless and sometimes fruitless trials with different clubs in Europe.
      I was disappointed in the outcome of the final game, but I think we took a lot of positives from the championship. If nothing else, we saw the promise in Stephen Eze, Ikouwem, Orji, Falaye, and confirmed that given a good defence, Ezenwa or Ajiboye can hold forth until our next great goalkeeper emerges.

  • I have always advocated that some chances should be left for the CHAN Super Eagles. 5 spaces should be exclusively left for home/Africa base. 1 Goalkeeper, 1 Defender, 2 Midfielder, 1Attacker.
    We have an emergency in the goalkeeping department.
    Goalkeepers: The 1-on-1 experts Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Dele Ajiboye.
    Defenders: The no nonsense duo of Eze Stephen and Ikouwen Udoh;
    Attackers: The Fearless Gabriel Ikechukwu.

  • iniugochukwu 4 years ago

    @Kel-you are absolutely right.Yusuf should be dropped.We need a respectable Ex player or local coach in that coaching crew.I watched the CHAN apart from the Angola game, wondering what does Coach Yusuf bring to the team.
    In the final against Morocco, he was completely clueless and did nothing to organize his team.
    With regards to members of the CHAN team that can make the World cup team,I will pick just Ezenwa and Okechukwu.

  • stanley 4 years ago

    oliseh was head coach the last time.. we didnt qualify from our group. can we please commend salisu for a job well done. haba

  • Well,I do not watch most of the games but from those I watched,I will say Enzeawa,Dele Ajiboye,Gabriel Okechukwu,Eze Stephen should be giving opportunity to fight for shirt.Salisu Yusuf should be drop for coach Samson Siasia as part of coaching crew.

  • Obinna nwamara 4 years ago

    none oooo they are all bunches of akamu no surga

  • Only Ezenwa no one else

  • Edoman of New Jersey, USA. 4 years ago

    Only the 2 goal keepers are good enough for Russia. The rest of them should go back home. Whom can any of them display in the Russia bound super eagle . In the WAFU final in Ghana, they conceded 4-1, In Morocco, they embarrassed the Nation once again. Tell you what, they are armature. They are big-stage fret. The local Couch is not good enough too. Enough said.

  • msugh Abah 4 years ago

    Everubody in nigeria is a coach, I think it’s had time we should try to be fair to our coachs,for me Ajiboy and .Ezewan deserve to bein in Russia 2018.

  • Austin 4 years ago

    Ikechukwu ezenwa is already in the super eagles ‘A’team. Ajiboye is the only one qualified to join him as second goalkeeper for now. Gabriel okechukwu is good but cannot bench anyone for now is the super eagles ‘A’team. There are good and better exposed forwards in the ‘A’ team.

  • Mary Anyogo 4 years ago

    okpotu saved the squad till finals only to be drop out in the finals for Gabriel who can not score without his passes,as for me ,he won d ticket to our finals..No player in da squad is qualify to play in d world cup xcpt the goal keeper Ajiboye,not even d so called ezenwa

  • Olusegun B 4 years ago

    Dele Ajiboye and Ezenwa. For me . We need midfielders esp someone like Dayo ojo . Stephen We maybe tall but still has a lot of technical works to do . Gabriel I like him . Would love to consider him but who is he gonna substitute for SuperEagles when Junior Ajayi or igalo are likely to show up .

  • Joshua 4 years ago

    Ezenwa and Ajiboye are the only ones that are good enough to go to Russia. All other seemingly good players in the squad cannot compete with other foreign based players for their respective positions

  • Only EZENWA AND AJIBOYE deserve shirt but Eze, Faleye, Okechukwu, Ikouwem and Orji can be invited to train with main team

  • To garner experience. Ezenwa, Ajiboye, Eze and Okechukw. They will just be there for training materials not in World cup squad

  • Omo9ja 4 years ago

    For me, Ezenwa, Ajiboye, Eze, Udor, Gabriel and Okoro deserve a chance to try their luck. God bless Nigeria!!!

  • Ifeanyi 4 years ago

    Only Ezenwa and Ajiboye others are amateur, World Cup is not a learning ground is for matured players.

  • I’ve reiterated many times, Eze I’m sure can rub shoulders with the mainstay centre backs in the super eagles team. Ezenwa too can compete with the foreign based goalkeepers. For others, there are skilled and better players playing their positions in the main team. Plus Salisu’s knowledge in modern day football is retarded. We were just choked up in the final game and he got no answer to revive the game even when we were slightly down in the second half. The Moroccans were tactical disciplined with a game play well structured and they completely rot us with goals. We need a coach that can read the trend of a game and do the needful where it is necessary. For God’s sake we have them in abundance in Nigeria, Emmanuel Amunike, Boboye, Maikaba et al. You’ll agree with me luck took us all the way to the final but luck can only work in a final game for a well strategize team.

  • Ikouwem, Eze,Ojo Orji,Gabriel and the two goalkeeper’s.

  • OLISAEKEZIE 4 years ago


  • Patrick 4 years ago

    Only enzewa

  • Patrick 4 years ago

    Apart from ezenwa none of the players deserve a shirt at the world cup.

  • Only Enzewa has a chance.

  • O'Billy Pam'Pam 4 years ago

    I don’t know if we have the time to add any of them.The two central defenders can be tried,especially Eze,because I don’t know who will replace Balogun or Ekong if injury or suspention(This guy in Turkey)?Still,they all need time to mature to world cup players.That is if our dream of a simi-final at the world cup is still there.

  • Wanogho 4 years ago

    Truth be told, our coach was not good enough. Right from the beginning of the championship after watching the teams in the group stages, I knew Morocco will win the championship from the way they play. For players to be included in the A team, I see none. Maybe only Ezenwa as a reserve keeper. You guys should not forget, the world cup is not for boys with chicken heart but for men with lion heart. I did not see any lionhearted player in our team in the CHAN final.

  • ufuoma 4 years ago

    None of the players, we have v but players abroad who AR still fighting for a space. Make w forget sentiment, ,, none of those players. Ezenwa is already there.

  • Just only ojo

  • Osas Okoro, Ajiboye,Eze and Okpotu. Without Okpotu we would have been defeated by Angola.

  • ibraheem 4 years ago

    none of them they reach the final by luck so they should go nd look for Anoder job

  • Deking 4 years ago

    I think Eze and Ezewna deserve to be there