IKENWA NNABUOGOR tasks Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr to find quick answer to the latest puzzle on the Eagles’ wings – Samuel Chukwueze or Chidera Ejuke?
One major positive of the not-too-impressive Super Eagles performances at the double friendlies in Austria recently is the new attacking option thrown up on the wings.
The debuting CSKA Moscow winger Chidera Ejuke added a new dimension on the right wing for his country when he showed he could be relied on to punish opponents to create chances for strikers to score or find the target himself.
Ejuke replaced the undisputed first choice on the Eagles right wing, Samuel Chukwueze in the friendly against Tunisia on Tuesday and looked a worthy option.
Chukwueze had inherited the right side of the attack from swansong-singing captain Ahmed Musa and stamped his authority with some breathtaking performances that also earned himself some efforts at goal.
But the double friendlies exposed the Villarreal youngster as losing it gradually and presenting opportunities for Ejuke to usurp his authority.
Ejuke, himself, an exciting actor with springs on his feet, could do himself a world of good taking up the role from Chukwueze should the former Golden Eaglets ace falter in subsequent games.
In truth, Chukwueze was not at his best against the North Africans and could now force Rohr to look Ejuke’s way in subsequent games.
Both players are young and going guns and it will be an interesting headache for Rohr on who to start.
Rohr is a big admirer of Chukwueze and will always be credited for quickly graduating him from youth football to the senior level.
He still believes in him – and will still give him some more opportunities to bring on his magic where he appeared to have kept it in the AFCON qualifiers against Sierra Leone in Asaba and Freetown next month.
Rohr will still also have the luxury of having Ejuke too waiting in the wings as they say, the more, the merrier but in the long run, he could be forced to change the baton from Chukwueze to Ejuke depending on the performance of the latter.
Interestingly, Ejuke is growing in leaps and bounds and churning out impressive performances at CSKA and will always be at his top form to give his international football his best shot.
Lately, Monaco winger Henry Onyekuru, another top contender to Eagles’ right wing, appears to have more troubles on his plate at club level to worry about than his Eagles future, leaving Ejuke to fight Chukwueze for a starting shirt.
Talents abound in Nigeria and another player could emerge from the blues to further provide more wing options and make the competition stiffer.
But before then, the fight is between Chukwueze and Ejuke and the Villarreal star must bring back his spark or let Ejuke take his place.