Eagles caretaker coach Samson Siasia 42-man squad list for a double-header against Egypt reflec...
Eagles caretaker coach Samson Siasia 42-man squad list for a double-header against Egypt reflected the current form of Nigeria players, but the likes of Leon Balogun, Brown Ideye and Isaac Success were some worthy omissions with reasons too.
A top member of the NFF technical committee, who pleaded anonymity, spoke specially on these players who should have been there, but are not there.
Here are the reasons Siasia proffered for omitting these players when he defended his list before the committee as reported by AfricanFootball.com
Leon Balogun (Defender/Mainz, Germany)
Leon is arguably, Nigeria’s most in-form defender in Europe. He has been largely used at right back in the national team, but has been deployed at the heart of Mainz defence in the Bundesliga this season.
|Leon Balogun has been in terrific form for Mainz in the Bundesliga|
He has made 18 appearances for Mainz in all competitions, the last being the 2-1 defeat of Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
His partnership with Stefan Bell in Mainz central defense has been largely the reason the team is in the hunt for a Champions League play-off spot.
Why He Is Not On The List
Our source said: “We raised this with Siasia but his reason is cogent - You don’t invite players for the fun of it. We agree that he is having a good season but this is Africa and not Europe. You can see how hot the weather is in Abuja. So imagine how it will be in Kaduna when we play Egypt.
“Leon could struggle in those situations. You remember, we had similar problems with Reuben Agboola back in the days.
“This is a crucial match where circumstances beyond the game proper could be decisive, so we need players who will be comfortable within our environment.
“Leon is still part of the team and will be invited for future games, but we had to leave him out for this one.”
Isaac Success (Striker/Granada, Spain)
|Isaac Success for Granada|
Success has been an ever-present in the Granada starting 11 this season. He has played 28 times in all competitions for Granada this season scoring five goals with three assists.
He was on target in Granada’s 2-0 defeat of Sporting Gijon in Spanish La Liga this week.
Naturally a striker, he has been deployed more from the left flank this season.
Why He Is Not On The List:
Our source further explained: “Success was equally mentioned, but the main snag is his goal conversion rate.
“His work rate is commendable but for a striker, he needs to score more goals. Against Egypt, we will need more potent strikers in front of goal. We will need strikers who will take the opportunities when they come.
“He is quite a young chap who will be very useful to the national team in future but such a crucial game might not actually be the right time to blood him. Remember he is yet to make his full international debut.
“In future, it will be interesting to see how he links up with the likes of Ighalo in the attack”.
Brown Ideye (Striker/Olympiacos, Greece)
|Brown Ideye won the Greek championship with Olympiakos last week with over 10 games to go|
Brown played 28 matches in all competitions for Greek champions Olympiacos this season (20 in Greek Super League, 6 in UEFA Champions League and 2 in Europa League).
The last of these performances was against Anderlecht in the Europa league on February 25. On the whole, Olympiacos’s number 99 scored eight goals with one assist.
The move to Olympiacos saw a rejuvenation of his career after the lull at West Bromwich Albion.
Why He Is Not On The List
Our source; “The idea of having Ideye serve as a foil for Ighalo is appetising. We all know what Troy Deneey does for Ighalo at Watford. He will need such a player in the national team.
“But while you have to note that Brown also has a low goal conversion rate, his usefulness in a 4-4-2 situation cannot be ignored.
“But we have players like Victor Moses returning to the national team.
“Brown should return soon but not for this game. We cannot invite all the players at the same time”.
Dele Ajiboye (Goalkeeper/Warri Wolves)
|Former U-17 goalkeeper Dele Ajiboye just signed for NPFL side Warri Wolves|
Dele’s form at Warri Wolves has caught the attention of NPFL observers. Not a few believe he is the most in-form keeper in the domestic scene.
He has started and finished all Wolves four games this season and kept three clean sheets. He was the stand-out keeper at the Super 4 and has kept a below-par Wolves side afloat this season.
Why he is not on the list: Our source; “We invited two foreign-based keepers, Carl Ikeme and Dan Akpeyi. The three home-based keepers who should open the camp are national team ‘keepers at different levels.
“Ajiboye’s form has been noted but you know that the goalkeeping career is a bit more exclusive than the out-field players, the choices are limited.
“I have no doubt that Dele will get his chance after the Egypt games. We have also noted his good form.”