By Tony Ubani
MANY soccer fans had asked the relevance of skipper Nwankwo Kanu to Eagles at the just ended Nations Cup in Angola where he was made to seat on the bench becoming a non-playing captain as it were in tennis. Many others also queried that skipper of the Olympic gold squad had overstayed his welcome in the national team.
But coach Shaibu AmoduÂ shot back at critics yesterday and said that the Portsmouth striker would lead Eagles to the World Cup in South Africa if he still remains coach of the national team.
â€œIf I still remain the coach of the Eagles, Kanu will lead the team to the World Cup. He is still very relevant in the team and cannot be compared to any player. He is still very useful and can last the distance in a matchâ€, Amodu said yesterday in his first official outing after the Eagles won bronze in Angola at the African Nations Cup.
â€œWe all saw him sparkle in the third place match against Algeria. Kanu is still Kanu and his tricks have not deserted him. He remains one player that will cause confusion among any world team. He is not finished. He is still very useful and will lead our Eagles to the World Cupâ€, he noted.
Also speaking on two other players who were the butt of criticism for their under par performance in Angola, coach Amodu exonerated Yakubu Aiyegbeni and Seyi Olofinjana, describing Yakubu as the most experienced potent striker in the Eagles. â€œUnfortunately, Yakubu has been receiving the flaks wrongly together with Olofinjana.
Yak is the most experienced striker. He is intelligent, hardworking and a natural leader. I have no regrets including him in the team that won bronze in Angola. If I have another opportunity, I will do it againâ€. The coach also rated Olofinjana so well and said that there were special players that only coaches see their usefulness in matches. Comparing Olofinjana to Garba Lawal who was a coachâ€™s delight during his days,Â Amodu said that Olofinjana was a workaholic who does the dirty jobs and remains very reliable in any match.