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2010 World Cup : Eagles problem has gone beyond Amodu, says Ikpeba … We need a play maker, says Iroha

By Philips Adefioye & Kate Obodo

Former African Footballer of the year, Victor Nosa Ikpeba says it’s not surprising that no Nigerian player made the list of the five top Africa footballers nominated for the 2009 Glo_CAF award slated for Darkar, Senegal next year.

Ikepba was of the view that no Nigerian players were plying their trade with European big clubs like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, stressing that they would have made the list if they featured for these big clubs. He added that a player like Osaze Odewingwie was enjoying a good season with club and country but did not made the list because he was not playing a big European club.

“If they can play in the top clubs in Europe and their performances are exceptional, there is no way they cannot be mentioned among these top five nominees, the selection was not based on sentiments.”

The former Monaco Prince hinted that Nigeria has wonderful players with great potentials but stressed that the problem was how to package them for big time competitions like the Nation’s Cup in Angola and the World Cup in South Africa.

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“We have a problem with packaging our players. We have great players but we do not know how to make them produce results or attract people. Although, we score goals and win some crucial matches sometimes but our technical crew and even the players themselves have failed to find a solution to the problem.

“We really need to do a collective work on the team. I believe it’s gone beyond Shuaibu Amodu. The first thing the technical crew should do is to work on the strikers, then move onto the defenders and the midfielders; They need to know how to defend their goal area and even to score.”

Concerning the issue of Amodu’s sack, Ikpeba said after qualifying the Super Eagles to the Nation’s Cup and the World Cup, Amodu should be left alone to continue but he quickly added that he will definitely be judged after the Nations Cup.

“It is not going to be a tea party, if the Eagles fail to fly at the Nations Cup that is not to say that our World Cup outing will be poor, I think we need to go around  Europe because we have a lot of players there, who are playing in their club week in week out and extend invitations to them.”

The former Standard Liege striker decried the consistent trips by NFF to London to see some senior players, adding that it was getting out of hand.

“Why is it that these so called NFF board members always travel to London. Don’t we have order countries in Europe that we have other players plying their trades? Why can’t they go there and see the players?  This trip to London is irrelevant, we have players in France, Portugal, Italy, Sweden and other part of Europe and why should  the board members be the ones to travel for a job meant for the technical committee?

We need a play maker in the team- Iroha

Former Super Eagles player Benedict Iroha has stated clearly the need for a playmaker in the senior national team  that would compete against some of the best in the world at  next summer’s competition billed for South Africa.

Iroha, a member of the  1994 Nation’s Cup winning squad, believes for any  team to succeed, there should be a   good and combative midfielder. According to him, the team needs a playmaker, one who can hold the ball, distribute it, has good vision and can convert chances or produce a chance out of nothing. He said Nigeria needs someone in the mould of Argentina midfielder  Lionel Messi.

The Heartland FC coach said with a creative midfielder in the  team, there will be no problem with the team’s ability to create chances.

“I have said this long a time ago, that the team needs a playmaker. Nigeria has a rich pool of talented youth scattered in every nooks and crannies of the country. All we need to do is to inject a good midfielder,” Iroha said.

Reacting to the World Cup draws held last Friday, which saw Nigeria in Group B alongside Argentina, Greece, and South Korea  Iroha said until after the Nation’s Cup his prediction remain pending.

“Let’s wait and see the outcome in the Nation’s Cup. Let’s  see how ready we are. I would not want to say   if the team will survive or not. What I will say is that they need the Nation’s Cup to get set for the big cracker in the forthcoming competition in June.
— Iroha


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