Ikouwem Udoh of Enyimba controls the ball against Djoliba of Mali in a CAF Confederation Cup clash

Super Eagles coach Gernot Rhor stuck with his regulars for the double-header 2019  Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Libya. However IZUCHUKWU OKOSI takes a closer look at five players who ought to be considered for next month’s grudge clash in South Africa.

  1. Ikwuowem Udoh (Enyimba)

There is a new star on the block – Jamilu Collins – after a promising debut against Libya, but he needs to be on his toes and not feel too comfortable.

Udoh has been immaculate in the CAF Confederation Cup and is the skipper of the Nigeria U20s, the Flying Eagles.

His performances speak for him and again there is no justification not to extend an invitation to this player.

Udoh offers defensive astuteness and attacking impetus down the left back.

  1. Theophilus Afelokhai (Enyimba)

Francis Uzoho is now the undisputed first choice Nigeria goalkeeper, the likes of Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Daniel Akpeyi seem not to have any chances unless the Elche goal minder is injured or suspended.

Most fans cannot understand why Ezenwa keeps getting invitations to the Eagles when Afelokhai is the man keeping him away from the goal post for their club Enyimba.

Afelokhai has been in splendid form in the CAF Confederation Cup and keeping him away when form and consistency ought to be considered for invitations to the national team cannot be easily defended.

Azubuike Okechukwu in Turkey
  1. Azubuike Okechukwu (Pyramids FC, Egypt)

Former U23 captain Azubuike Okechukwu ought to be in the Super Eagles plans.

The defensive midfielder has terminated his contract with Turkish side Yeni Matalyaspor before the move to the Egyptian league.

Okechukwu is a no-nonsense defensive midfielder and could provide competition and cover for the likes of Wilfred Ndidi, Ogenyi Onazi, John Ogu and Oghenekaro Etebo.

Ndidi was booked when the Mediterranean Knights were defeated and (hopefully not) another card on Tuesday will rule him out for the very important grudge AFCON qualifier against South Africa in November. That is a quick reminder why the Eagles need good options.

  1. Anthony Ujah (Mainz 05, Germany)

Anthony Ujah has not been part of the national team set-up for about three years, but his form thus far cannot be overlooked.

The striker has scored twice in six German Bundesliga matches and ought to be handed another opportunity with the Eagles.

Ujah’s return could be a spring in the steps of Odion Ighalo, who scored a hat trick in the 4-0 romp over Libya on Saturday.

The introduction of another striker featuring in a competitive league as Germany during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers could only serve to increase options upfront.

Moses Odubajo
  1. Moses Odubajo (Brentford, England)

The Brentford right back was considered for an invitation some time ago, but Gernot Rhor but an injury put paid to that.

Now back playing again in the English Championship, it will be nice to have this British-born Nigerian commit his international future to Nigeria.

Odubajo, 25, is a good right back with good positional sense and strong in the tackle.

Waiting for an opportunity in the England national team is not on the menu as he cannot dislodge the trio of Kyle Walker, Trent Alexander Arnold and Kieran Trippier.

Shehu Abdullahi is currently first choice at the position for Nigeria, but he rarely has a good back up.

Ola Aina was ponderous in his defending in the 4-0 mauling of Libya on Saturday in Uyo and has not covered himself in glory in the games he has played for Nigeri

 

By  Izuchukwu Okosi

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