After Nigeria’s embarrassing defeat at the hands of minnows Sudan in Khartoum, coach Stephen Keshi has become one of the most criticised gaffers in the game. Rightly so, because as the manager you dictate the rhtym of the team. However I strongly believe the following players should also share the blame for one of Nigeria’s darkest days in football alongside the Eagles coach.
5. Efe Ambrose: The only positive aspect of the Celtic right back's involvement in these Super Eagles AFCON qualifiers was the goal he scored against Congo in Calabar. Apart from that Ambrose has been poor in the last three games for the Eagles. Against Sudan his overlapping runs which bore no meaningful results gave Sudanese danger man Tayyib the chance to dominate the right flank and keep causing trouble for the Nigerian defenders.
4. Godsfrey Oboboana: Once tipped to become the next Uche Ukechukwu (the gentle giant), the Rizespor defender is definitely not living up to the billing at the moment, considering his lacklustre display against the Sudanese. Apart from almost gifting them a penalty with a handball on the edge of the box, the defender was to blame for allowing Bakri Abdelgadir too much space to nod the winner for the host, it was surely a performance to forget for the former Sunshine Stars defender.
3. Elderson Echejiele: It’s very obvious that Echejiele hasn’t regained his form and composure on the ball after the lengthy injury that sidelined him for weeks prior to the World Cup in Brazil. The best scenario would have been for Keshi not to have invited the former Wikki Tourist defender for this crucial game and allow him to heal completely and rack up some games for current club AS Monaco before considering him. Echejiele was woeful at the back and lacked composure to aim and shoot the target with the opportunities he had going forward.
2. Gbolahan Salami: The Warri Wolves striker has become a regular on these kinds of lists since the qualifiers began and it is hard to believe he’s currently the highest goal scorer in the Nigerian Premier League, considering his wastefulness in front of goal. Salami is at this time one of Keshi’s favourite players and many have questioned the player’s continued inclusion in matches that are vital to Nigeria’s chances of making any sort of impact in the football world.
1. Emmanuel Emenike: The Fenerbahce striker just has to be on this list. Keshi has placed too much faith in him while shunning the likes of Seattle Sounders forward Obafemi Martins and Villareal striker Ike Uche, but Emenike has yet to repay his coach’s faith by not scoring enough goals. He didn’t score at the World Cup in Brazil and is yet to register a goal in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, something which really affects his confidence anytime he appears for the Eagles. He lacked all that is needed by a striker to hit the target and score goals against the North Africans.