The Super Eagles of Nigeria are preparing for the AFCON 2022 qualifier with a double friendly in the on-going international break.
However, there are necessities that should be taken care of with immediate effect on the team.
Despite having a young team which is very much laden with quality, there are great needs for certain players to fill in some necessary void in the Super Eagles team.
It will go a long way in preparing them for big games (tough battles) in the future, even as competition would be achieved among the Eagles mix.
With these players absent despite being talked about in the Nigeria football hemisphere, we try to highlight them with regards to their urgent importance to the present side under the watch of manager Gernot Rohr.
Kelechi Nwakali (UD Huesca, Spain)
The talented midfielder may have struggled to find his feet as a player but his U-17 exploits as the Captain of the triumphant Golden Eagles of 2015 is still strongly remembered by Nigerian fans.
He’s been overtaken by his fellow U-17 colleagues in Victor Osimhen (SSC Napoli) and winger Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal).
Both have gone to make their debut for the Super Eagles even as they were both on the score sheet against Lesotho, with Osimhen being the catalyst on that occasion.
However, Nigerians are beginning to glamour for his services in the team, especially as the Super Eagles side is in dire need of an attacking midfielder who can link the play (midfield) to the attack in transition.
Ovie Ejaria (Reading, England)
Despite the news that the player has dumped England to play for Nigeria as interest wasn’t coming from the British nation, he is yet to be called up to the Super Eagles.
It was earlier reported in the media that his paperwork has been submitted to FIFA for his change of allegiance to the country of his parents.
But nothing concrete has emanated from that situation as it regards Ovie Ejaria being certified to play for Nigeria.
Though the team has got the talent of Joe Aribo, Alex Iwobi and Wilfred Ndidi going for them in the midfield, however, Ejaria is needed as soon as possible in the current young team.
To some extent, the wingers are struggling to provide the final ball because they’ve got more work to do to make the assist for the central striker. But, Ejaria has got what it takes to make it easy on the pitch for Nigeria.
He can release the winger like Samuel Kalu and Moses Simon to a great effect while coordinating proceedings in midfield as a matter of his true quality.
Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace, England)
The Crystal Palace star has moved from QPR (Queens Park Rangers) to the Selhurst Park after an eventful season in the English Championship.
He’s been awesome for the Blue and White even as they failed to make it to the Premier League. He’s been praised by Palace boss Roy Hodgson with hope for the future.
Despite joining the club (Crystal Palace) just last month, his performance shows that barring injury Crystal Palace may not be able to keep him at the club for a long time.
He’s been linked with the prospect of joining up with Nigeria’s Super Eagles. However, his inability to decide for Nigeria is making the fans to lose sleep over his availability for the Super Eagles.
How well he’s needed is a proof of Nigeria’s interest to solidify the midfield with his immense talent on the pitch.
Mbappe vs Giroud: Pogba clears air on ‘rift’ between France teammates
France midfielder, Paul Pogba, has cleared the air on a ‘rift’ between teammates, Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud.
Recall that Mbappe felt ‘attacked’ and ‘angry’ following Giroud’s comments that he was unhappy with France’s lack of cohesion in attack after Didier Deschamps’s side defeated Bulgaria 3-0 in their final Euro 2020 warm-up game on Tuesday evening.
Reacting to the development, Pogba insisted that there is a ‘great atmosphere’ in the French camp ahead of their Euro 2020 campaign.
Asked whether there has been any tension or rift between Giroud and Mbappe, Pogba told a pre-match press conference ahead of the Euro 2020 campaign: “No, the only tension is on the back and legs!
“There is always a great atmosphere with everyone. Between Olivier and Kylian, there is nothing. Or at least there has been nothing in front of me.
“Maybe what was said was conveyed incorrectly,” he added.
France kicks off their Euro 2020 campaign against Germany next Tuesday.
The World Cup champions will also face Portugal and Hungary in Group F.
Transfer: Giroud welcome to join me at AC Milan – Ibrahimovic
Ferdinand, Shearer, Lineker predict Euro 2020 winner
Alan Shearer, Rio Ferdinand and Gary Lineker have all predicted that France will win Euro 2020.
The French will expect to add a continental triumph to their World Cup success.
Dider Deschamps’ team conquered the world in Russia three years ago, with the squad still boasting of Paul Pogba, Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and N’Golo Kante.
Karim Benzema has also returned from a five-year exile to add more strength to the already deadly attack.
UCL: Lineker, others praise Chelsea’s Mason after 2-0 win over Porto
“France to win it. They have got talent all over the pitch,” Shearer told the BBC.
Ferdinand added: “France have got the most depth and the most talent, that is why they are my favourites.”
Lineker however believes defending champions Portugal could yet retain their crown, but has still backed Les Bleus.
“It’s hard to look beyond France – they were losing finalists five years ago, they won the World Cup three years ago and now they have Karim Benzema too.
“They will be improved and they have brilliant young players too. They have to be favourites.
“Portugal are not exactly an outsider because they won the thing four years ago but they have a very good team and they will have a chance,” he said.
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