By Onochie Anibeze
Former international Idah Peterside has advised Stephen Keshi to pick his World Cup team now and begin to concentrate on them while allowing room for few changes.
Peterside said his position was based on the past experiences with the national team when players did not know their fate until the last minute. Peterside defended his call this way:
“Keshi has worked with many players from the World Cup and Nations Cup qualifying rounds to the CHAN competition. There’s no way he would not know the bulk of his team now. He knows the cream of players who will be in Brazil. He could release about 18 names now or even 20 and leave between three to five places for people to fight for. He should also say that any of the announced names can be dropped in the final selection.
This will achieve two things. It will make those not selected to continue to fight for places in the team and those already listed to fight to retain their places. The second benefit is that players will begin early to prepare their minds and get ready for the battles in Brazil. They will begin to play the games in their minds and this will make for great mental alertness.
Psychologically, many of them will be ready. I, therefore, think that it will pay Nigeria for Keshi, the head coach, to announce the bulk of his team now while allowing room for some changes for those who will impress from now to be included and those who may lose form to be dropped. We have had situations when players who were included in the team at the last moment and the atmosphere overwhelmed them.
We have even had situations when players did not know who would play until they got to the stadium and when their names were announced they panicked. World Cup is no piece of cake and our preparation will matter a lot. Announcing the team early is part of the preparation. Good is training and competitive atmosphere is another. Let’s begin now.”