Wilfred Ndidi in action for Belgian club KRC Genk
Saturday Mar 19, 2016. 14:32
Nigeria could well be preparing for an embarrassing spanking by Brazil in a pre-Olympics warm-up on Thursday going by the experimental squad named for the friendly.
As much as this is a friendly, it is not a jamboree with half of the 20-man squad for the high-profile match-up being players who have yet to feature for the country’s U23 team – Godswill Ekpolo, Musa Mohammed, Ubong Ekpai, Agboyi Ovbokha, Nathan Oduwa, Iyayi Believe, Sodiq Popoola, Imoh Ezekiel, Theophilus Solomon and Saturday Kaego.
Coach Samson Siasia has said he wishes to run the rule on as many players as possible so as to get the best squad to represent Nigeria at the Rio Olympics in August.
However, the quality and current form of some of these “trialists” beg for more questions than answers.
While Brazil have picked a formidable squad who include Manchester United midfielder Andreas Pereira, Barcelona ace Rafinha Alcantara and Felipe Anderson from Lazio, Nigeria prefer to gamble on the likes of Barcelona ‘B’ teamer Ekpolo; Popoola, who failed to make the grade at French second division side FC Metz, and former Flying Eagles midfielder Ovbokha, who is now languishing in Slovenia.
The midfield of Dream Team VI is very much lightweight with Stanley Dimgba and Ubong Ekpai the only genuine call-ups.
Wilfred Ndidi (Genk, Belgium), Uche Agbo (Granada, Spain), Obinna Nwobodo (Enugu Rangers) and Samuel Chukwueze, Kelechi Nwakali (Golden Eaglets Class of 2015) ought to be some of the players within the age bracket who should have been also considered.
Anderlecht striker Imoh Ezekiel is the only quality addition to a strike force of Junior Ajayi, Taiwo Awoniyi and Victor Osimhen.
Granada striker Isaac Success despite his exploits in La Liga this season and Sadiq Umar of AS Roma have been surprisingly overlooked.
It is equally baffling to believe that the all-knowing, all-powerful technical committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) would have approved this selection of players who are doomed to disgrace the country in Brazil.
The full squad:
Emmanuel Daniel, Yusuf Mohammed
: Sincere Seth, Segun Oduduwa, Chizoba Amaefule, Ndifreke Effiong, Musa Mohammed, Godswill Ekpolo, Saturday Kaego
: Stanley Dimgba, Ubong Ekpai, Agboyi Ovbokha, Nathan Oduwa, Iyayi Believe, Sodiq Popoola
Victor Osimhen, Junior Ajayi, Taiwo Awoniyi, Imoh Ezekiel, Theophilous Solomon