Could Kelechi Iheanacho’s shut out from Egypt 2019 Africa Cup of Nations be the last time he will appear for his country? IKENWA NNABUOGOR reckons he deserves another chance.
No doubt Kelechi Iheanacho’s talent is great, but his recent exclusion from the Eagles final squad list to the 2019 African Cup of Nations could still have numbered his days for the country’s team.
In truth, Iheanacho’s performances lately have been nowhere near his best since he burst into limelight with his superb showing at the U17 World Cup in the UAE in 2013, and so no one will blame coach Gernot Rohr for dropping him.
Iheanacho started his Eagles career like a house on fire, netting four times in his first five games for his country, but a sudden dip in club form would really hurt his chances with the national team and ultimately lead to him not making the final cut to Egypt.
Loss of playing time at Manchester City opened Leicester City doors for the former Eaglets star, but he failed to pick up the gauntlet at King Power Stadium, managing just a hugely disappointing one goal in 30 appearances this past season.
The more his form dipped at Jamie Vardy-inspired Leicester, the less convincing he continued with his Eagles’ chances.
What looked like a spark badly and suddenly quenched continued with a little cheer on his career appeared to have dealt him a deadly blow with his not making the final cut to Egypt.
With the emergence of Victor Osimhen and Denmark-based Paul Onuachu, Iheanacho was going to have it Herculean to be in the Egypt party, his very poor season’s performance certainly did not help his cause.
The moment Onuachu grabbed his Eagles chance with both feet in his second appearance against Egypt in the friendly in Asaba in March, Iheanacho knew he had to quadruple his efforts to reclaim his Eagles place leading up to the Nations Cup finals.
Indeed, there’s no time to waste to grab any player’s spot in the Eagles of today especially in the attacking line as more strikers continue to make headlines with their exploits at club level.
This is a massive and interesting challenge for the once poster boy of Nigerian football, he has to brace up again and fight and continue fighting to prove himself.
Iheanacho got to get his groove back on as yours truly believes in his ability to be back again on his feet.
Could his problems with psychological or just the Nigerian big-player thing?
His recent games for his English side clearly showed he has a lot to do to hit the top again.
One thing is for sure, Iheanacho will have to battle his way up again or risk going into obscurity.
Perhaps, Egypt 2019 Nations Cup outing may have launched him back into reckoning to continue from a resurgence at Leicester.
Probably, a move away from ‘The Foxes’ next season could also help.