There’s been much complaining about Gernot Rohr’s Super Eagles, with many fans forgetting the key positive from his selection
Gernot Rohr’s latest Super Eagles squad has prompted more groans and moans of unhappiness than usual, even if Nigeria are only set to face the Seychelles.
It’s quite hard to know which is the supporters’ biggest gripe, although there are several that catch the eye, even if Rohr can’t really be blamed for Victor Moses’s decision to call time on his international career.
The decision to opt for Jamilu Collins and Semi Ajayi despite the fact the duo spent last season in the third tiers of Germany and England respectively, for example, hasn’t gone down too well, with many questioning whether the duo have the talent to contribute to the Nigeria project.
Elderson Echiejile’s omission may be a nod to a Super Eagles future, but Joel Obi and, particularly, Ogenyi Onazi’s ongoing presence in the squad hasn’t gone down well.
Nor has the persistence with Odion Ighalo, whose World Cup misses against Argentina are still fresh in the memory, despite a lack of viable alternatives.
John Obi Mikel, Tyronne Ebuehi and Moses Simon’s absences due to injury, coupled with Moses’s abdication, deny the Eagles several of their key on-field talents, while the form of Kelechi Iheanacho doesn’t inspire much confidence that he can offer much as a creator or a goalscorer.
Then again, it’s only Seychelles, and Nigeria don’t need to be at their best—yet—to avoid another Africa Cup of Nations absence.
However, amidst the extensive negativity, the return of Henry Onyekuru ought to boost the beleaguered Nigeria fans who still remember—all too readily—how the West Africans were eclipsed by Croatia this summer.
The 21-year-old wonderkid missed the trip to Russia after suffering a serious knee injury in December. Despite returning to training at Anderlecht in April, the Belgian giants opted not to use him again until the season’s end, and the chance to make a late impression on Rohr was lost.
As well as denying Onyekuru a spot in Russia, the injury also curtailed another promising season, fuelling the sense that people haven’t actually realised quite good the versatile wideman is yet.
After truly breaking through in the 2016-17 season with KAS Eupen, when he was top scorer with 22 goals, the youngster was signed by Everton for £7 million.