With the 2010 World Cup only 75 days away in South Africa, Super Eagles coach, Lars Lagerback whose appointment a few weeks ago is still raising some dust with the allegation of bribery made by the camp of one of the losers, Glenn Hoddle, has set the tone for serious work with a visit to South Africa mid week.
The Swede, accompanied by some top shots of the Nigeria Football Association, NFA, including its president, Sani Lulu Abdullahi, was on an inspection of the camp site and other facilities the team are expected to use for the prosecution of the World Cup.
Before he jetted out, the former coach of the Swedish national team dropped what could go as bombshell with a hint that vice captain of the Eagles, Joseph Yobo may not be part of his World Cup plans. Yobo, missed most part of the 2010 Africa Nations Cup in Angola owing to injury.
While he spoke lowly of Yobo and some other old players who were hitherto untouchables in Amoduâ€™s team, he was full of plaudits for Locomotiv Moscow forward, Osaze Odemwingie, a player who has caught the fancy of most football fans, not only for his commitment but also his determination to see Eagles excel always.
â€œOsaze is very good and I am sure we will use him very,â€ Lagerback affirmed.
Lagerback had also hinted that players who are not regular in their clubs would not make his team, a stance that may have caught up with defenders Obinna Nwaneri, Danny Shittu and Seyi Olofinjana, a player former Eagles coach, Shaibu Amodu could not do without except at the Nations Cup where he benched him after complaints from Nigerian fans and the media.
â€œFor now, Nwaneri has to get a better club, because he is playing for a club in the United Arab Emirates in a league that is third-rate while Shittu is not playing that same year.
After te departure of Oliseh, even though the Eagles never won any other laurel since then , Okocha was a master of tricks in the midfield and made opponents jitter when they faced the Eagles.
As Lagerback prepare his squad for the 2010 battle, Nigerian fans fear that the weak midfield may cause the team the opportunity to make any meaningful impact in South Africa.
The defence is another area of concern for the teamâ€™s followers. Now with Yobo doubtful, the question is who replaces him. Lagerback says he has found an answer for that with youthful Michael Odibe who plays for AC Siena, a Serie A side in Italy. Can Lagerback plug the gaping defence, which for a long time has been the Eagles Achilles heels?