By John Egbokhan, who was in Angola
The end of the road is near for under-performing Eaglesâ€™ players who are to be axed from the team after the Africa Cup of Nations, following the resolve of the Nigeria Football Federation and the Presidential Task Force to recommend for the deployment of young and talented players, eager to spill blood for the nation, to the manager, who would tinker the team to the World Cup.
Morale in the Eagles camp at the ongoing Nations Cup in Angola, has never been this low in recent times as players struggle to keep up form, which still eludes them as they have only been average in the two matches that they played against Egypt and the Republic of Benin(as at the time going to Press).
A humiliating 3-1 loss to the defending champions, followed by a nail-biting 1-0 victory over Benin has seen Nigeriaâ€™s future in the tournament, hanging precariously on the tenterhooks and while all have agreed that the major culprit for this decadent show is Coach Shuaibu Amodu and his technical crew cohorts, many others also share the belief that some of the players are just too average to be representing Nigeria at such an important tournament.
As the event in Angola serves as a test-run for the World Cup, the PTF is keeping a close eye on the individual performances of players in the team, with a view to assessing each playerâ€™s contributions to the cause of the nation.
One active member of the advisory body set up by President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua, told Sports Vanguard in Luanda that its chairman, Governor Rotimi Amaechi had a crunch meeting with the Minister of Sports and Chairman, National Sports Commission, alongside the President of the NFF, Sani Lulu, where it was tacitly agreed that some players have become irrelevant in the pursuit of a countryâ€™s cause at the World Cup.
Our source, who pleaded for anonymity said that the trio agreed in principle to ensure that the World Cup team is peopled by active players from the Olympic and Flying Eagles teams.
â€œIt has become too obvious that some players have overstayed their welcome in the national teams. Players like Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Nwankwo Kanu, Taiye Taiwo, Seyi Olofinjana, Obinna Nwaneri, to just mention a few, are no longer good for our team.
â€œThey have become too static, out of sorts and totally unhelpful for our cause. They cannot further our ambitions of doing well in the World Cup and that explains why the PTF and the NFF have agreed to advise the next manager of the Eagles on the need to inject good players from the Flying Eagles and the Olympic team into the squad.
â€œInterestingly, they all bought the idea as it would ensure that we present young and talented players who would be determined to fight for our good and make the fight for a starting place more competitiveâ€, added our reliable informant.