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Search For Ndidi’s Replacement Now – Amuneke Tells Rohr

Search For Ndidi’s Replacement Now – Amuneke Tells Rohr

Ahead of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, former Nigerian midfielder, Emmanuel Amuneke has advised Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr to search for a player that can be a perfect replacement for Wilfred Ndidi in the senior national team.

Ndidi, who has become the team’s number one defensive midfielder since his emergence in the Super Eagles, played a vital role in Nigeria’s qualification for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
While other positions in the Super Eagles appear to be competitive, the position of the Leicester City star seems to be less challenged by any player.

With the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers fast approaching, there are concerns that in Ndidi’s absence due to injury or unforeseen circumstances, the Super Eagles may be exposed.

Speaking with Completesports.com, the Atlanta Olympic gold medalist stated that the technical crew of the Super Eagles must search for a player that would give Ndidi serious competition for his position.

“Wilfred Ndidi remains one of the best defensive midfielder players Nigeria has ever produced. His level of maturity with the senior national team has made him an indispensable player under Gernot Rohr. Aside from that, we can attest to his great performance with Leicester City in the Premier League.

“However, there is a need for the Super Eagles to have someone that can give him competition in the team just like we have in our attack where the likes of Victor Osimhen, Kelechi Oheanacho, Paul Onuachu, Simy Nwankwo, Terem Moffi, and Sadiq Umar are banging in the goals in Europe and giving Rohr serious selection headache. That id the type of competition with need in the position so that when situations of injury arise, such player can fix it easily.

Ndidi has since been capped 38 times for his country including three times at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and helped the Super Eagles finish third at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.


By Augustine Akhilomen

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  • Gideon S 3 years ago

    This is very important issue..

    What can we do (SE) without Ndidi,
    If his down with injury

  • Peter highstar 3 years ago

    One of the reasons we perform poorly in benin city

  • Ololo 3 years ago

    It is not the fault of the coach or anyone else.. Getting a player of his class is a difficult challenge.. Even his club with the millions cannot find someone his level yet to compete with him. Sometimes when God blesses you too much you began to see it as a problem.. We are lucky to have ndidi playing for Nigeria. He is one of the best in the world in that position. The only player I can suggest we get to replace him though of a lower quality is billing in English championship but the boy isn’t ready to play for Nigeria. So we must manage what we have which is Shehu or etebo

  • JimmyBall 3 years ago

    This na correct talk… If we cannot find a worthy replacement between now and next world cup. Onazi Ogenyi… whenever fit can do a solid job. The likes of Samson Tijani is still too young and we do not have much profile of his current footballing situations other than playing in Hartberg, Austria. Following Amuneke’s comment, it is easy to see that once Ndidi is not available we are in trouble…

    • Don’t be daft how can a player playing in Lithuania play for a whole Super Eagle? trust me there is no hope for Onazi at SE…..Onazi has gone completely

      • Can you not comment without insulting another person. BTW Any male that can kick a football is worthy to play for the SE, It now behooves the coach to decide if he wants to or not. That is what he is paid to do

  • The WC qualifiers postponement is really a blessing in disguise. NFF should use that opportunity to organise at least two quality friendlies where we can test some of the new players. Rohr on his part, should do well to scout and pencil down a new player that we can test in Ndidi’s position. All the other players that have already auditioned for that position, were not so convincing. So there is a need for Rohr to do more scouting and get back to us

  • Mr Hush 3 years ago

    Truer words have never been said..

    Ndidi is a vital (arguably the most vital part) of the present Super Eagles. He is simply indispensable.
    His absent was greatly felt in the match against Madagascar at the Afcon, where the balance of the team was affected and defence wasn’t shielded. We conceded cheekily. Ndidi came in and the game changed. But it was too late.
    Same against Sierra leone in Benin. Throwing away 4 goals cause Etebo couldn’t shield that back four like Ndidi. His sweeping ability and proactiveness was missed.

    And against Algeria at the last Afcon Semi, we saw when Ndidi got tired mentally, how that cost us the match. He gave away a free kick in a vital area. If we have had trusted and competent replacement ,he should have been replaced by the 80min mark when he was visibly tired and making errors.

    That said, it is not that the coach haven’t tried to find a backup. In fact, Rohr enjoys a double pivot in the middle. He has tried Ajayi,Mikel Agu,Azeez, Esiti , Shehu, Onyeka etc.. they aren’t just up to the high standard set by Ndidi. One can’t just give what you don’t have.
    Even the midfielders touted to come in, Ejaria,Olise; play different roles..
    So Rohr has a lot cut out for him in this search.
    And there is simply no time to experiment baring in mind qualifiers are close.
    I guess we just have to trust and manage the best of the rest, which for me is Shehu at this moment in time..
    Unless some miracle happen and another Nigerian playing that role in high standard rises up from nowhere .
    I do believe in miracles though…

  • Proudly 9ja 3 years ago

    Most people may not like this ooo but Amuneke is just looking for attention and just goes wherever the wind blows, I don’t have anything against Amuneke abd he is allowed to give advice like any other 9ja citizen but guy wait your turn, stop angling for the SE job, na turn by turn. He should focus on his own job and leave GR to do his. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that advice nor be curse but don’t u think GR is aware of this issue as well? even though I think we already have viable replacement in shehu and Etebo albeit different styles of play (same way ndidi and Kante have different styles). Where is GR supposed to go discover the replacement people keep talking about from? if that player is available don’t u all think GR would have looked into such player? Since Amuneke likes to advice, he should also mention these replacements na abi him nor recommend Junior Ajayi to GR awhile back? Its easier to be on d side lines and offer all sorts of advice. If he truly wanted the best for GR and SE, when NFF approached him to come help the team as a technical adviser why did he decline? People would argue its bcos he knows his worth and didn’t want to play 2nd fiddle to “mechanic” white coach. There are things bigger and more important than moni and Amuneke doesn’t understand it. If I were GR, I will have faith in Shehu and Etebo, they are very capable replacement for Ndidi, all this talk of Ndidi being irreplaceable nor follow for me at all. Ndidi is a baller no doubt but SE can cope without him, the game against SL was just a one off that won’t happen 9 times out of 10. Ndidi was present against Algeria and we still lost. Don’t get me wrong ooo, Ndidi is a very important member of the team and I blif he should be the future SE captain but saying he is irreplaceable is not true in my view both for club and country. Mendy did a yeoman job in his absence nor be so?

    Jimmyball my broda i love ur writeups most times, but bro stop dis ur yan about players being too young, leather is no longer tapped by old men, forget Onazi, Moses, talk abeg dia ship don sail biko and allow the young boys play ball. See wetin Chelsea Young Boys use real eyes see yesterday. If tijani, moffi, Sadiq, even amoo sef are good enough they should be brought in not wait till them turn 25 or 30 b4 coming to the team. Give them opportunity to acquire that so called experience u dey talk about. See England team, mostly in their early 20s (grealish, mount, foden, Bellingham, greenwood, Rushford, Madison Barnes etc). See Spain now same as Germany, French team for last worldcup, even b4 dat the German team wen win worldcup for Brazil, all young young boys. Even wen 9ja win AFCON that team was a relatively young team. My broda 4get age matter, if u can play u are old enough.

    Ololo my broda, well said but to me ooo, there is no way Billings is better than Shehu or Etebo, I will pick our 9ja guys ahead of Billings anytime anyday especially against African opposition. Na skill Billings get pass Etebo? Abi na speed or wetin? Just my thought tho

    • Yerimanphc 3 years ago

      Well, your take on Amuneke is a possibility, but probably your judgement is rather very harsh. It could also be an innocent advise that he gave, but you have chosen to see the other side.

  • Sammy 3 years ago

    How about Semi Ajayi?

    He played in midfield for Rotherham before he signed for West Brom, and was moved back to his original position in center-back. He’s not up to Ndidi’s class, but then who is.

    The other option is for the coach to revert to a full possession style game, using a deep-lying play-maker like Azubuike or the junior Nwakali, while pairing either of them with two No. 8s in a 4-3-3; just the way Sarri plays. I actually think this style will be the next stage as the team evolves and better ball-playing midfielders join the team.

    • Interesting synopsis Sammy. I also concur with the view of Ajayi offering a viable alternative to Ndidi in his own’s interpretation of the role.

      I also like your postulation of another tactical philosophy that might suit a deep lying playmaker approach.

      This angle of analysis makes us to begin to move away from just embracing Ndidi’s DM proposition. The way I am reading your contribution is that if the overall tactical constellation of the team is redesigned, there are players other than Ndidi who will be able to fit into that set up (deep in midfield) and interpret the coach’s strategy with icey precision.

      I agree with this.

      I too am not of the school of thought that Ndidi is indispensable – no player is.

    • JimmyBall 3 years ago

      @Sammy…when last did Azubuike played a serious game for his club? Chidiebere Mwakali is playing two levels below the Turkish Super Liga in Turkey… Make we the talk things we dey on-point. Semi Ajayi can’t be played in DM… he is static. I see that guy falling off the radar soon because with the form of Ekong now… I doubt if Semi Ajayi will ever play for Super Eagles again… mind you Rohr will always carry Akpoguma and when Torunarigha finally banks in… You know what to expect.

      • Azubuike has played 11 of of a possible 39 games in Turkey this season. However, the most pertinent question is: is the Azubuike of 2021 the same as the one of 2016? It seems as if his game is experiencing slight but sustained diminishing returns. The injection of dynamism needed to execute the DM role of this Super Eagles outfit might be found by looking beyond a player like Azubuike.

        But he is a decent player whom I respect.

  • pompei 3 years ago

    Wetin we dey find for Sokoto, e dey for Shokoto.
    Azubuike Okechukwu is a natural born DM. He impressed me in our Afcon qualifier against Egypt in 2017. Though we lost the 2 legged affair, Zubby was one of the lads that impressed. Came in as a sub in the second half in Alexandria, and seized control of the midfield.
    He won the Turkish title with Istanbul Basaksehir last year. If he is still in form, he can step in nicely as a sub for Ndidi. In fact, he can give Ndidi a good competition for that jersey. He is that good.

    • Collins id 3 years ago

      @pompei, why u dey spy my reason na? I am glad you too think likewise on this issue, how can I have azubuike and u are inviting onyeka or ajayi to come a play midfield, even ndidi though has become massive, but could never have called him self midfielder where azubuike his, thanks to genk who converted him, shehu will not even play himself ahead of zubbi in the midfield if he had the chance to select the team, azubuike is my ngolo kante Rohr should overlook the height and give him the chance, Azubuike was voted most valuable player in the olympic qualifications toneo and was our best midfielder in that toneo, he did everything right and his absence cost us semifinals against germany, even Mikel couldn’t take his place when he was out.

      • pompei 3 years ago

        Hahaha, the boy na real Ngolo Kante. Unless he has lost form, Zubby is the real deal.
        Rohr should please give that boy a chance. I know Rohr prefers tall boys. But Zubby has other attributes that compensate for his lack of height.
        A trial will convince Rohr. I’m confident of this.

    • Omo9ja 3 years ago

      I agree with you both on azubuike issue @pompei and Collins id .

      Having Mr. Rohr alone in charge of Eagles won’t letting the team grow faster than expected.

      We have azubuike and Nwobodo. These are the raw midfielders that any world class coach can be proud of but Super Eagles is way bigger than Oga Rohr, that is why our players have to work extremely hard to win something for Nigeria as long as Oga still in charge of the team.

      Imagine, calling Okoye Nigerian no1 goalie while Uzoho still available for selection?

      You people still begging the coach for not doing is job properly?

      Mba. I can’t beg him because that is what his bn paying for.

      Invite azubuike and Nwobodo and see what they can offer the team period. No time to waste time.

      He should stop relying too much on certain players in the team.

      He have to be flexible because injury is part of the game.

      This is the reason why NFF should give Amunike and Egbo the maximum support to build Nigeria a fearless, rugged and a never say die team spirit that Nigerian team known for. Azubuike and Etobo started playing for Nigeria under Siasia team at the same time but unfortunately, Azubuike didn’t make the Super Eagles.

      The combinations of azubuike and Etobo was superb in that competition Nigeria won in Senegal before the Olympics games if I’m not mistaken.

      Let’s call a spade a spade. We have better replacements for Ndidi Shikena.

      Azubuike and Obinna Nwobodo are the real men to compete with Ndidi period. Ire o. God bless Nigeria!!!

  • There are many Ndidi’s in our local league who might be very raw but got the talents to go places if given the opportunity . Besides, Our local Eagles competed at the nation’s cup in Morroco and got to the finals,we also went to the U20 World cup in Poland,and our U17 went to the last World cup, we also participated in the last qualifiers for the Olympics and yet we have a coach who has been here for about five years and could not find even one player from all of the above mentioned teams. Personally, I feel it is either GR is no sincere/committed or he is just lazy. Westahof did everything to put together a crack team in the same period of time and he was not as lucky as GR is now who is blessed with the emergence of extremely talented and exposed young players. GR needs to do more than just assemblying foreign based players. Even in his team somebody like AINA can be converted to the defensive position,he is very graceful on the ball, he has dribbling runs combined with his defensive abilities he will be a joy to watch at the middle.

  • pompei 3 years ago

    I’ve always thought that Aina was wasted as a full back. His ball playing ability in my opinion would be a wonderful asset in the middle. And he is explosive going forward. Potentially Muda Lawal 2.0.
    An Ndidi-Aina midfield pivot woud be very interesting indeed!
    Awaziem is another player that I think can handle the DM role.
    However, I think the likes of Ndidi, Azubuike, Etebo, Shehu are better suited to the DM position. So Awaziem will likely remain deployed as a center back or right full back.
    The Aribo we see at Rangers can also play the DM role. He though is more at home as an AM or winger.
    It would be nice to try Aina in the midfield in a friendly. We might be in for a pleasant surprise. If it works out, Ebuehi and Ehizibue can handle the right back role.

    • Mr Hush 3 years ago


      Always respect an innovative mind.
      I am down for trying out players out of position, you never know.. even Ndidi was born out of such creative tinkling; From CB,RB now one of the best DM in the world.

      But my problem I have with the Duo of Awazeim and Aina playing that role is their lack of full focus. They are good in their right but they tend to lose concentration at a point in time.
      One major strength of a good DM is anticipation. You have to be proactive in your thought. Smelling and Knowing what the opposition is going to do next before he does it and stopping it.
      Aina and Awazeim as good as they are ,don’t really have this. More so in Aina.
      Aina is good going forward as RB but most times comes short in his defensive duty.this might be a negative in the Dm role where you have to be the shield to the defence. Though Awazeim is better defensively, he comes short in another strength; movement.
      A good DM must be able to move , not necessarily a speedster, but have that engine to accelerate when necessary. The engine to go full throttle and go the whole distance not just a kilometre. Aina is fast but does get tired quickly. Awazeim movement isn’t much better; that’s why he is most suited in the CB role. Or the RB who don’t necessarily push forward( though he tries to sometimes).

      But well no matter my reservation,like I stated, I am always down for innovation. You never know till you try. Let’s see how it goes.

      • JimmyBall 3 years ago

        @Mr.Hush… Well said. I however, have a question for your eminent self… have we written off Onazi Ogenyi completely? If he stays fit… is he tested enough to know how to cope with fever-pitch high-end games? I saw his World Cup 2018 no-show (was never played in any game) as a follout of his standing-up to Mikel Obi in nit really putting-in grit to help in the middle (bigman midfielder), the problem and tension leaked to the media and Onazi himself have made subtle reference to it as to why Etebo was preferred as a second player in the pivot to him… if an Onazi is healthy and fit, can he still not put in good work? I believe producing a trusted DM at the level demanded in elite games takes years and maturity… I am just seeing the possibility of candidates to help Ndidi not stepping in to do a convincing job… I however believe that, Shehu can convince if tried but how are we to know if the coach does not use low-risk games to test him…

        • Sammy 3 years ago

          Ogenyi Onazi plays in Lithuania. What kind of football do they play in Lithuania.

          In the current national team its really difficult for players in Turkey to get a look-in; that’s why Azubuike, Obinna Nwobodo, Anthony Nwakaeme, and other players who have been performing well in that League hardly get invites. Even Henry Onyekuru is on the periphery of the squad, and he plays for Galatasaray, the biggest club.

          Onazi was so unfit, he could not cut it in Turkey, and had to move to Lithuania, and you’re pitching him for a return to the national team. How is this even possible?

          Just to add, that the reason Onazi did not play at the last World Cup was not because of any animus with Mikel; he was really really bad in that friendly against England just before the tournament. He was lucky to make the squad at all and has justifiably not been seen in the national team since then.

        • Mr. Nice 3 years ago

          The person that campaigned heavily against the inclusion of Ahmed Musa in the national team is now campaigning for the inclusion of Ogenyi onazi playing in Lithuanian league, Lithuanian league of all places and you want us to believe that you’re okay upstairs…. It is well with you sir!

          • @jimmyball you really fall my hands with this onazi issue. That’s below your standards my brother. Common drop onazi case. You spoke against musa and now you are talking about onazi. Onazi has lost something. He needs to be left alone. I don’t really bsee him coming back to that standard again. I wish him well though.

      • pompei 3 years ago

        Mr. Hush,
        Great points.
        That LACK OF FOCUS you mentioned is indeed the bane of Aina’s game. For someone so talented, he tends to lose focus at critical moments in games.
        If he can work on this, it will make him a better player, wherever he is deployed on the pitch.
        Aina also does not possess the passing range of an Ndidi, or even Azubuike. But what he has is very useful in the midfield. The energy, the ball-playing ability. The ability to drive forward with the ball reminds me of Michael Essien in his prime years.
        Regarding Awaziem, he is a great tackler and has good positional discipline. He will do a decent job for you, but falls short in the ball-playing department. He does not possess the skills that an Ndidi, Azubuike, or Etebo will bring to the table.
        Like you Mr. Hush, I’m also a lover of innovation. I really hope we can squeeze in some friendlies, and try some ideas out before the world cup qualifiers commence.

        • Mr Hush 3 years ago

          I can’t but agree more with you..

          Always open to positive ideas..

          All greetings.

          In as much I respect Onazi and all the service he rendered us; I think he is passed his prime. He should be let to be. He deserve that much.
          Theoretically, if we are calling Onazi back,why not Mikel Obi? After all,the former captain still plays in the championship,.A much higher league than Lithuanian league.
          We all know that isn’t a possibility ( getting Mikel back).hence a no no for Onazi.
          Though their heart might be there,they both don’t have the legs anymore to play in that high level the Super Eagles requires.

          Like you stated,we should look at the present crop. Pompei and some fellow forumite made some great suggestions; likewise your call for Shehu.
          I believe Onazi has done his bid and should be allowed to enjoy his private time. The Super Eagles have moved on.

          • Ayphillydegreat 3 years ago

            Thank you @Mr Hush. Why clamor for a player playing in Lithuania at the age 28 when we have general Mikel Obi at 33 playing regular in the English championship. Lmao!!!

        • Mercy 3 years ago

          As far as the position of deputy DM for Ndidi is concerned, my pick is shehu. since his u20 playing days for Nigeria hardly had he had any bad game.

  • lanre 3 years ago

    Ola aina will do well as a winger. He has the fair, creativity and accurate crosses of a winger. Rohr should try him there sometimes.
    as per our youth teams, a certian Adewale Oladoye from our u20 all african games squad is called the next Patrick Viera. He is in the gent and will soon break into their main squad for next season. He is doing well in their reserves and he is highly rated

  • lanre 3 years ago

    you guys can be very funny

  • lanre 3 years ago

    i will never RECOMMEND any player Mr GERNOT ROHR because he is doing the right thing with the super eagles

  • Proudly 9ja 3 years ago

    I like innovative/creative thinking like the next guy but Aina or Awaziem as DM? Hmm, why do we like shooting ourselves in the foot? That experiment wen GR try where him play apkoguma out of position (as a RB) never clear for our eyes?That mistake should an eye opener not to play guys out of position bcos if u do, u will be punished especially at the highest level, u could get away with it against minnows but against quality opposition you will be punished. Aina probably last played a DM when he was at Chelsea youth team and it was once in a blue moon, many many years ago. Una see wetin Chelsea use him eyes see last week wen dem deploy am as one of the back 3. He was ran ragged that day, him eye see wien. We never see Shehu (who is a natural DM) well well in that position we are asking for Aina to be tried there, haha my brodas. That is just disaster waiting to happen. If u guys mean in an emergency situation, maybe we are down one man, we have to bring in a defender to shore up the midfield and we don’t have any viable replacement, then deploying Aina or awaziem there won’t be bad but saying using them as replacement for Ndidi, in my opinion (which counts for very little lol) is a very bad idea especially when Shehu, Etebo are available. These guys (shehu and etebo) play this position week-in week-out all season long for several seasons not just occasionally. There are some positions u can experiment with but that DM is not one as it requires lots of energy, effort and someone who does that on a regular basis. Don’t get me wrong ooo, there are occasions you would want to clog the midfield and bring in a defender to help in the midfield like psg would use marquinhis or even mourinhos real Madrid would use peoe back then.

    As regards to Azubuike, yes he played well at the Olympics and even against Egypt under sia1 but when last did he play for instabul bashashire in the Turkish superliga? Remember he and nwakali played together for the qualifiers and he was crap in my view. He and nwakali couldn’t hold that midfield losing balls cheaply. He is aggressive in his play and causes lots of needless fouls in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong ooo, I like Azubuike and I think he could play for the SE as he has the workmate but so does Shehu and Etebo. So what would he (Azubuike) that will be different to Shehu or Etebo? When last did Azubuike play, atleast we saw Shehu in Europa group stages, same europa keague Azubuike’s club played in but we nor see Azubuike for field.

    People calling for Nwobodo, is he a DM? I don’t think so, he is more of a CAM, he has never been one right from the u21, if my memory serves me right the Dm for that team was Ifeanyi Ifeanyi. I don’t see what he will bring that will be so extraordinarily different from what we presently have in Shehu or Etebo.

    @lanre, I like ur suggestion regarding that #4 boy that played in the flying eagles. That boy is a baller, he is tall and very majestic, he was the only standout in that team. My only issue with him is same as the others, is he better than what we presently have in Shehu or Etebo? I personally think not. We shouldn’t underestimate what a player we have in Shehu or Etebo, these guys have been with the team for awhile now, their quality both for club and country has never been in doubt, uts just that Ndidi is at a higher level hence the lack of playing time for SE. Watch d way Shehu brought balance to the team against SL. That guy is a work horse, he isn’t as reckless in his tackle when compared to Azubuije, he plays regularly, he could be deployed as a RB if need be, his passing is at the same level as azubuike and others, so what is the basis of inviting another person who is not monumentally better than what we have especially if what we have hasn’t been tried enough? Just my thought. Apologies if anyone takes offense, was/is not my intention.

  • Larry 3 years ago

    @Proudly 9ja, I respect your honest and articulate view. The problem with some fans is that they are not fair with their suggestions. Shehu remains one of the most consistently players in SE. I can’t remember the last time he underperformed in national team matches.
    Shehu can play any position in midfield.

  • Johnson o Abasili 3 years ago

    Mikel obi can be used as his replacement in case of any unforeseen circumstances Mikel is still playing 90min

    • Olayemi Muibi 3 years ago

      Brother what about taye taiwo and olofinjana .. . Your head wey be like keke Napep seat.

  • Why is nobody flaunting the name new Portuguese citizen Mikel Agu?

  • JimmyBall 3 years ago

    … @deo… Mikel Agu has been tested before and he has hardly ever convinced. I talked about playing Shehu against Lesotho and that would have helped us see him better, but for an inconsequential game, again rather characteristically, Coach Rohr would not play him.

    • Thanks Jimmy. I think Mikel Agu has been unfortunately with injuries. He has a level headed interpretation of the defensive midfield role.

  • Proudly 9ja 3 years ago

    If the NFF were smart, they would use the FIFA window to talk to some nations hoping to participate in the Euros about the possibility of a friendly like some firumites have suggested since the worldcup qualifiers fir the African continent has been postponed. There will be many European countries available to play a country like 9ja as means of preparing their team if we act fast. zif the European teams aren’t available due to fact that its too close to the EUROS, We can even talk to the US or Mexico for friebdlies. If those countries aren’t available maybe due to prior engagements, we can talk to other top African countries and propose friendlies with them. We can approach countries like Mali, DR Congo, Senegal, Ivory Coast etc, these countries will jump at the opportunity to lock horns with us since they are in the same boat as we are. They too would want their teams to be active in the FIFA window and would be looking to utilize the fifa window to get their teams the needed games. Tge games can be played in Europe there or even in 9ja sef. countries like Mali would jump at the opportunity and they would give tge SE a good game, they are young, skillful and fast. They trashed Ghana 3:0 the other time. These are friendlies 9ja can use to cap the likes of Olise, give players like Shehu, Moffi, Sadiq even Anayo good 60 mins of playing time at least to really see what they can do, see players like Kalu, Simon etc who have been out of the squad for some time now. One could even start Shehu and ndidi just to have that stability and build confidence and see how dia combo would work as there are some oppositions that SE may need to deploy 2 DMs. Ndidi could later give way to another CAM to get his needed rest. This way shehu would have gotten some needed game time and us tge fans would have seen enough to make a judgment as to weda he is good enough for the SE and if he is found wanting, another person can be looked at. Just my opinion. Larry, I hail ooo

  • Proudly 9ja 3 years ago

    What a strike from iheanacho, wow. Still down 4:2 against Newcastle. Kele is on fire

  • _Is Ndidi Truly Indispensable?_

    Hi Mr Hush,

    Thanks for your contribution above which (as always) was very well articulated.

    However I wish to highlight elements – to me – that are open to alternative interpretations.

    I don’t think Ndidi ranks among the most vital members of the Super Eagles when we talk about the role he plays. The defensive midfield role is no more vital than say the goalkeeping or centre forward role.

    However, Ndidi’s status as one of Nigeria’s high profile players is what sets him apart and makes his presence crucial. But this equally applies to the likes of Iheanacho, Osimhen and perhaps Iwobi.

    Ndidi is no more vital than any of the aforementioned three.

    And as for being indispensable, let’s throw it out there: how indispensable is Ndidi for Nigeria?

    Since making his Super Eagles debut in 2015, Wilfred Ndidi has missed something like 15 international games. Out of those, the Super Eagles only lost only 3 games (a meagre 20%). Meaning, by and large, the team copes well in his absence.

    The match against Madagascar that you referenced, I think it will be a stretch of the imagination to peg that ignominious loss to Ndidi’s absence. The first goal conceded was as a result a slip by Balogun while the second came off a wicked deflection following a set piece. It is doubtful Ndidi’s presence would have made a difference (after all, Ndidi’s rash tackle was complicit in Algeria’s deathnail goal in the Afcon semi finals).

    The game against Sierra Leone in Benin (that you equally referenced), 2 of the goals came after Akpoguma’s position was breached while the last goal was partly a result of shortcomings from Iwobi and Zaidu. It is difficult to see how Ndidi’s presence would have prevented those particular goals.

    You put down the goal conceded against Algeria at the semi-finals of the 2019 Afcon down to tiredness from Ndidi. However, those close to the camp revealed afterwards that Rohr had warned Ndidi not to make rash tackles in dangerous areas: no greater indication need be sought of Rohr’s awareness of a major flaw in the design of Ndidi’s overall defensive-midfield package.

    There is an old saying that goes: ‘Victors are by their own victories undone.’ The elements of Ndidi’s game that make his overall package such an attractive proposition are the exact same elements that can torpedo his team’s efforts.

    Ndidi is vivacious, proactive, mobile, ubiquitous and uncompromising in his tackles and interceptions: all of which have transformed him to a top quality defensive midfielder – some of which can be a bane as well as been a boon (as we saw against Algeria).

    Against Algeria (contrary to popular belief) , we did have capable replacements: John Ogu or even Mikel Obi could have been brought on. They are both tried and tested DMs. Mikel Obi is still playing at a decent level.

    One art that Ndidi hasn’t mastered well is ‘shielding’. Mikel Obi played at the highest level for over 10 years because he made ‘shielding’ the centerpiece of his DM philosophy. Hence, he didn’t need to ‘rush’ into every tackle like Ndidi does.

    I think we fans are now too used to Ndidi’s approach that we have become almost oblivious to other interpretations of the same role.

    After a shaky outing against Algeria in 2020, I thought Semi Ajayi performed admirably against Tunisia in his second stint as DM for Nigeria. After all, you have to allow players ‘grow’ into any role.

    Any of Shehu Abdullahi or Mikel Agu can also be expected to put up decent shifts for Nigeria in the defensive midfield position. The problem with some of us is we expect them to play like Ndidi. However, just like many routes lead to the same market, there are many interpretations for the same defensive midfield position.

    Rather than us expecting doppelgangers of Ndidi, we should watch other DM options with fresh eyes and appreciate what they bring to the table.

    Shehu, Agu and Ajayi aren’t the best of the rest, they are the best in their own rights and we should see them as that.

    We do not need a miracle, we just need to harness what we already have and we shall conquer Africa and the world in the next two years.

    • @deo. I completely disagree with a lot of your submissions. Niddi for now is indispensable. We really don’t have any close to him at that role at present. Yes others can come in and put in their efforts but you can’t compare their input to that of ndidi.

      You talked about the fact that the goals scored in some matches would have happened with ndidi, but you failed to talk about what ndidi would have done to help the team move forward from defence to midfield and to attack. Today ndidi does not just shield the defense, he gives confidence to the defenders and also the other midfielders can carry out their duties without fear.

      Close to ndidi is Shehu and etebo. But for you to say the ndidi of today is not completely useful to the eagles setting, you are wrong my brother.

      • Dear CMN,

        Actually, I agree with you 100%. When it comes to Ndidi’s interpretation of the defensive midfield role, no one comes remotely close to him in the Super Eagles.

        He has a more mobile, combative and instant-interception approach to the role. He has the legs and lungs to support his style and also the concentration and end product to match.

        So yes, in the way Ndidi’s has chosen to position himself as a DM, he is unrivalled.

        What I was trying to say above is that there are several ways to skin a cat. Hence there are several ways to interpret the DM role.

        A player like Mikel Agu (Admittedly not a fan favourite) places more emphasis on shielding. He hovers around the back 4 enough to make the opposition aware of his presence and rethink their attacking intent. Mikel does not maraud like Ndidi.

        They interpret the role very differently. A vast majority of fans are in love with Ndidi’s approach (I concede) but that does not necessarily mean that others cannot be trusted to interpret that role in an acceptable manner.

        In the matches that I referenced, I didn’t fail in anything I said. All I tried to point out was that the goals conceded weren’t a direct result of failings from the DMs deputising for Ndidi on those matches. Those DMs played as well as they could.

        The goals from the games against Sierra Leone in Benin and Madagascar came as a result of failings from other departments.

        In all, Ndidi is a big name Super Eagles player bolstered by his phenomenal (defensive) stats in the English Premer League. But, that doesn’t mean that we don’t have suitable deputies at this time.

  • Dear CMN,

    Also my brother, please read through my contributions again and you will find nowhere I expressed or implied that: “ndidi of today is not completely useful to the eagles setting.”

    I am not sure where you lifted that from.

    Ndidi remains a core member of the Super Eagles but I want to move away from the notion of saying a player is indispensable.

    The Super Eagles is bigger than any one player.

  • Ololo 3 years ago

    Ndidi is an important player, no doubt but it is not yet a crisis situation looking for his replacement..

    Etebo, shehu have done very well each time they have been asked to fill in that role, esp etebo.

    No doubt there is need to fortify the dm position but I don’t think there are any Nigerian players anywhere in the world close to the levels of etebo and shehu who we already have.

    One thing we fail to understand is that a player like ndidi are very few in the world and we are very lucky to have him, aside kante ,casemiro and a few others there are few in ndidi level, so let’s relax, even among Nigerian players born abroad how many have we spoted that plays that position, and in the Level of etebo shehu.. Let’s chill, rohn can’t manufacture players. We all know he picks the Best

  • Mr Hush 3 years ago

    @ deo

    I do relate with your point of view.
    But I believe everything is all contextual, more so a figure of speech rather than literary.

    The point is. Presently,Ndidi is indispensable. Not just for the Super Eagles but for Leicester city.

    Can we play without him? YES.
    But would we feel his absence? Definitely. We always do when he doesn’t play.

    The fact we are discussing about the search for a “back up”, shows how indispensable he is .

    Furtherly, the fact that Mikel and Ogu weren’t trusted enough to come on against Algeria just proved the point of how vital Ndidi is.
    We all saw Mikel against Burundi. He had lost an inch. He wasn’t the Mikel anymore. His body wasn’t helping like his heart was.
    Ogu had nothing special against Madagascar. His miscommunication with Balogun caused us a goal. It took the substitution of Ndidi to bring a balance to our game in that particular match.

    I could come out and sugar coat it. But like every National team, we got vital players that are simply indispensable at the moment. Like De Bruyne to Belgium, so is Ndidi to us.
    It doesn’t mean Belgium wouldn’t win without De Bruyne; but it is a fact with De Bruyne ,Belgium is much better. So is Ndidi to us. We are much better with him.

    And yeah, a team can always have more than one vital player.everyone that watches the Super Eagles for the past year knows the players in our team who are crucial hence “indispensable ” as of current form. Again; figure of speech..

  • Greenturf 3 years ago

    Shehu Abdullahi is a very good defensive midfielder.It’s a shame he wasn’t given the opportunity to start against Lesotho in that very inconsequential match.He proved what he can do against Sierra Leone in Freetown when he brought calm to a midfield in storm when he was subbed on in the second half.
    I think his bench roles is because he plays in a weak league and I’m sure if he could move to a top five European league,he would usurp some regular players in the super eagles.
    Shehu could function in different roles aside the defensive midfield.He could play as a central midfielder as well but his European sojourn has let him down but his talent has never been called to question.

    • JimmyBall 3 years ago

      Let us not make excuses for the gaffer… If Shehu plays on a weak league and you don’t feel he can prove his mettle, then invite someone else in his place. We talk for finding capable replacements for key players like Ndidi because we saw what burnout and fatigue can cause at Afcon 2019 where Etebo and Ndidi played every minute through the games… Sometimes Rohr’s actions begs understanding…

      • Greenturf 3 years ago

        In my opinion the gaffer do not need to start looking for Ndidi or any other players replacement because Nigeria is a big football nation and talents are aplenty.
        Inviting the best two players in every position will solve the problem of replacing any regular when the need calls for it..
        Right now I’m sure Nigeria has 30 quality players who are good to go against any opposition so there’s no qualms.

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