Since the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) released the provisional list of the Super Eagles squad for Russia 2018 on Monday as put together by Gernot Rohr, tongues have not stopped wagging.
Rohr, the Super Eagles coach, named a 30-man provisional squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
This list will be whittled down to 23 in the coming weeks.
That will be the final list of players that will head to Russia. As it stands, no name can be included in that list.
While some fans are satisfied, some are of the view that more experienced players should have been included in the list.
The good thing about the list is that none of the players who toiled under the sun and in the rain for Nigeria to be in Russia was left out.
The brilliant duo of Troost Ekong and Leon Balogun, the rock of the Super Eagles defence were selected. Others defenders are Chidozie Awaziem, Kenneth Omeruo, Shehu Abdullahi, Tyrone Ebuhehi, Elderson Echiejile, Ola Aina, Brian Idowu and Stephen Eze.
As for the goalkeepers, Carl Ikeme who is battling Leukemia was not selected. Those selected are: Francis Uzoho, Daniel Akpeyi, Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Dele Ajiboye. These goal keepers have proven their mettle on different occasions for the Nigerian team. While Ikeme is out, there is no cause for alarm as far as the goal keeping department is concerned.
When it comes to selecting the team captain, Rohr did as expected as he chose John Obi Mikel.
Mikel is the most experienced player in the Super Eagles squad. He is also the talisman and the orchestrator who pulls the string in the middle of the park. Without Mikel, the players may not be coordinated as it has been seen on few occasions. The likes of Onyiye Nididi and Joel Obi were also picked.
For the forwards, Alex Iwobi, Victor Moses, Odion Ighalo, Kelechi Ihenacho, Ahmed Musa, Junior Lokosa, Moses Daddy Simon and Simeon Nwankwo made the provisional list.
The major complaint, however, is that the squad is full of average players who lack experience at the highest level.
Most of them play in lower football leagues across Europe. Many football pundits felt that Obafemi Martins should have been part of the team heading to Russia.
“Apart from Victor Moses and three others, all that Nigeria has is a bunch of average players. Just hope we should fly in Russia,” lamented Julius Babatunde, a football pundit.
Vincent Enyeama fell out with former coach Sunday Oliseh which made him embark on self exile. When Oliseh left, there were calls for him to come back. Based on his experience, many thought that he would be invited by Rohr, at least, to inspire the goal keepers and the team as a whole.
Brown Ideye who is also a senior member of the national team was also left out. He plays for FC Malaga in Spain.
So far, Rohr has done well for the Nigerian team. Without the experienced names some argue, Rohr was able to qualify the Super Eagles without losing any match. Nigeria finished top of the so-called group of death, which had Algeria, Zambia and Cameroon. Like Clemens Westerhof did in USA 94, he is showing the same zeal in ensuring that the Super Eagles perform well in Russia.
Whichever position anyone may take, how well the team can do will be seen in Russia.