Monday, January 20, 2014

CHAN: Is This The Best Keshi Can Get From The League?


After a slow start, Nigeria are through to the last eight of the 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN) even as questions still surround the quality of the squad to South Africa.
Most Nigerians had even written off Stephen Keshi’s team after they fell 2-1 to Mali in their opening group game, but they bounced back in typical Nigerian style to beat Mozambique and hosts South Africa to reach the knockout stage of the tournament reserved for players featuring in their local leagues.
However, beneath these results, questions are being asked about how thorough the scouting was to assemble the players for the country’s ‘B’ team as well as how much monitoring was done on those who were finally picked for the tournament in South Africa.
Skipper and goalkeeper Chigozie Agbim, for one, was the butt of criticisms across the country until his much improved showing against South Africa on Sunday. can special reveal that in a 38-week season, Agbim played only two matches all through last season for Enugu Rangers.
The two matches were home matches – vs Kano Pillars on April 28, which Rangers won 4-0 and vs Bayelsa united on May 12, which the host team drew 1-1.
It was therefore understandable why a Rangers a management official Steve Oruruo was confident to declare that Emmanuel Daniel who kept goal for Rangers most of the past season is a better choice than Agbim and that Agbim was match rusty.
Ejike Uzoenyi did not play a single game for Enugu Rangers last season as he was mostly at French club Stade Rennes on a short loan and when that did not work out, he returned to Nigeria, but he did not bother to play for his club.
A further look at the individual performances of the CHAN Eagles in the league last season showed that the starting defenders all played less than half of the matches of the last campaign.
Last season, Solomon Kwambe played only six of Sunshine Stars matches, Francis Benjamin appeared in 12 Heartland games, Kunle Odunlami played 13 matches for Sunshine and Azubuike Egwuekwe featured in 16 games.
Of the 23-man squad to South Africa, Lobi Stars striker Barnabas Imenger played the most number of league matches last term. He played a total of 32 matches.
Other players who played at least 70% of their club matches last year are Rabiu Ali (31 matches), Ikechukwu Gabriel (27 matches), Bright Esieme, Ugonna Uzochukwu, Aliyu Ibrahim (26 matches).
Observers have also argued that there is a big disconnect between the coaches and the league as they are not involved in the competition on a regular basis and so I have depended largely on Keshi’s Man Friday Valere and recommendations from friends to invite players to the home-based Eagles training camp.
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have spent a fortune in the two years of Keshi’s tenure to set up training camps for players from the domestic league and one would have thought that by now a more effective scouting network would have been fashioned out to ensure only the best are called up.
This may well make a case for a separate set of coaches from the league now to be saddled with the responsibility of building the new home-based team for the next CHAN.
How CHAN Eagles fared in league last season –
Chigozie Agbim – 2 matches
Daniel Akpeyi - 15 matches
Dele Alamapasu – Academy
Solomon Kwambe – 6
Benjamin Francis – 12
Azubuike Egwuekwe – 16
Kunle Odunlami – 13/1 goal
Ikechukwu Gabriel – 27/1 goal
Erhun Obanor – NNL
Umar Zango – 19
Bright Esieme – 26
Ugonna Uzochukwu – 26/5goals
Shehu Abdullahi – 15/1 goal
Rabiu Ali – 31/13 goals
Christian Pyagbara – 16/4 goals
Ikenna Paul – 12
Ejike Uzoenyi – No match
Gbolahan Salami – 16/6 goals
Barnabas Imenger – 32/7 goals
Aliyu Ibrahim – 26/3 goals
Christian Obiozor – 18/5 goals
Ifeanyi Ede – 24/8 goals

No comments:

Post a Comment