Sports enthusiasts from various parts of the country have expressed mixed reactions over the Super Eagles’ team list unveiled by Coach Stephen Keshi to face Chad in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
Keshi was re-engaged to handle the Eagles once more after a long period re-negotiation for his contract, when arguments dragged back and forth over whether his performance at the last FIFA World Cup in Brazil was good enough to give him back the job.
Apparently, a few had recalled his sterling performance in winning the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in South Africa, with mainly an experimental home-based team. Sentimentally they won the argument for his re-engagement.
The 26-man team made up of the home-based Eagles he unveiled would commence immediate camping ahead of the qualification for the qualifier with Chad, ahead of the 2017 edition of AFCON
The fans who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos said the invitation of home-based was in the spirit of good sportsmanship and his ( Keshi’s) determination to move forward.
Joe Erico, a former Assistant coach of the Eagles said his invitation of the home-based was expected. “The coach is one who likes to mix players and get good results, which would help them to improve on their performances.
“I was not surprised that Keshi picked the home-based, because over time we have come to see that he prefers a combination home and foreign-based players.
“This will help to balance the equation as there will not be any superiority issue in the team. Everybody present will see themselves as equals, which will help to boost their morale,’’ Erico said.
A former Green Eagles player, Adokiye Amiesimaka said: “I don’t know what to make of Keshi’s list, because we have seen him do it before, bringing in domestic players and ending up not seeing them make the team.
“I’m not a soothsayer, Amaju Pinnick and co must have reasons for their choice and as for Keshi I’m sure that he knows his mistakes; he should work on it.
“He will be in the best position to answer what his intensions are. We don’t want to see the players dropped at the end of the day, we will watch how things unfold’’.
A former Director-General, National Sports Commission (NSC), Amos Adamu said: “we should give him the necessary support, then we will take it from there.
“I think we should just allow Keshi do his thing’’.
Bright Omokaro, a former Eagles player called for support for Coach Keshi. “No matter who is in the list, all we have now is for all to give him the support; the list has many promising players from the premier league.
“I believe he is experienced to know the crop of players to add to the squad and I know they will win the match,” Omokaro said.
Michael Ezechie, an IT consultant said: “Theo Afelokia of Kano Pillars, a goalkeeper is missing in the list and he happens to be one of the best goalkeepers we have.
“Salisu Abubaka is good as an assistant, he is a good choice; the list looks fair enough’’.
From Kaduna, many of the fans who spoke with NAN welcomed the choice of some of the players, hailing it as a step in the right direction, while others said the home-based were largely inexperienced.
Aloysius Leo, a sports analyst, said the invitation extended to the home-based players was a credit to the coach.
“Keshi should endevour to include the foreign-based players after the qualification to make the team much more solid,’’ he said.
Peter Youngman, a businessman, applauded the decision, saying the team would wax stronger with the selection of home-based players.
“It is a good decision because it gives room for the players to exhibit their talents. The home-based will make a good team because they will also want to be successful like their foreign-based counterparts”.
Youngman urged the coach to be patient with the players so that they could put in their best. “If the team will imbibe good discipline, they will qualify and only need a few foreign-based to strengthen the weak areas’’.
Joe Esan, a civil servant, said he was happy at the coach’s decision, stressing that it would create an opportunity for the discovery of “hidden talents’’.
“I am happy he made a good decision by inviting only home-based players because we have talented players that have yet to be discovered’’.
Timothy Samaila, a sports analyst, however, said he was sad at the decision because the home-based players were not exposed. “They do not have the experience as compared to their foreign counterparts’’.
Sani Ahmed, a mechanic, also said the decision was good in other to motivate the home-based players.