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Owolabi, Eguavoen kick over call for Okocha’s return

The debate raised by former Green Eagles winger, Adokie Amiesimaka’s suggestion that former Super Eagles captain, Austin Jay Jay Okocha should return to the national team following the problem is having filling the vacuum created in the midfield by his departure is still raging.

Two former players of the national team, Dr. Felix Owolabi aka ‘Owoblo’, a member of the 1980 Nations Cup winning team and Austin Eguavoen, who led the team to their 1994 Nations Cup victory away in Tunisia have added their voice to the debate.

•Austin Equavoen, says  no to Okocha
•Austin Equavoen, says no to Okocha

Both of the, key players during their playing days were vehement in opposing the recall of Okocha into the Eagles, believing that the action would be counter-productive and therefore advised the former Bolton Wanderers of England captain to remain out and enjoy his retirement.

Speaking on a radio programme monitored in Lagos, Dr. Owolabi, now a member of the Nigeria Premier League Board said the Eagles handlers should not be stampeded into recalling Okocha as he would not make any difference now .
He said that instead of recalling Okocha, younger players should be drafted into the team advising instead that “Okocha should be left out of the team, he would be more useful in the Presidential Task Force where he is now.”

On his own part while speaking with kickoffnigeria.com, Eguavoen, now a coach with former CAF Champions League kings, Enyimba FC of Aba, said that a comeback by Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha to the Super Eagles will be “counter-productive” and as such the former Bolton Wanderers midfielder should stay retired.

Eguavoen, who led Nigeria to third place at the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations said, “I won’t support bringing ‘Jay Jay’ back now. It may not be in the best interest of the team,” even though he agreed that a vacuum was created in the Eagles midfield with the exit of the Delta-born former PSG of France player.

“With the exit of Okocha from the midfield, we don’t have any creative player any mor,” he said, advising that in his place, Italy-based Christian Obodo and youth international, Lukman Haruna should be given a chance in the team’s central midfield.

“The team handlers should look towards Obodo and Haruna. Haruna is a gifted player but he’s not matured for the big challenges, but I think the coaches could start to build him for that challenge now.”


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