By Mansur Abubakar
Today’s match between Nigeria’s Super Eagles and the Taifa stars of Tanzania isn’t only about three points being a stake or the country winning its first 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualification away game but also about new manager Sunday Oliseh.
The former Super Eagles captain took over the reins from ex-teammate and skipper Stephen Okechukwu Keshi two months ago but it’s today that the former Borussia Dortmund midfielder would be fully assessed by experts, pundits and Nigeria’s highly conscious football loving population.
Oliseh’s team selection for the crucial encounter points to the fact that not much has changed considering the fact that over 70% of players invited were part of Keshi’s last game in charge of the team when they defeated Les Sao of Chad 2-0 at the Ahmadu Bello stadium in Kaduna.
The inclusion of Izunna Ernest Uzochukwu and Sylvester Igboun both graduates of FC Ebedei, owned by Oliseh’s brother (Churchill Oliseh) among the players for this game attracted some level of controversy, but they will be available for selection in Dar es salaam.
Another question that quickly follows is, whether he would be able to solve the tactical and technical deficiencies the Eagles have exhibited of late.
In a TED lecture the gaffer delivered in UK he said: “Education from my school days was the difference in my life. It made it easy for me to analyse.”
An analysis of the challenges that face the growth of the game in Nigeria will show they are numerous. Worse still, the challenges have now gone ‘viral’.
Oliseh revealed in one of his interviews that what happens in the football house is ‘organised chaos’. “If things are done properly in the right way, there will be no avenue for corruption.”
So, as an analytical person, has he found a way round this ‘organised chaos’ that he will definitely encounter on the job?
Yes, he has a UEFA Pro license, and he was in the same class with Manchester United legend, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but has that prepared him for the unpredictability of his employers and is that enough to guarantee success on the job?
Another interesting aspect of today’s match is the unavailability of number one goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama who is reported to have been bereaved hence his decision to miss out on this trip.
In Enyeama’s place would be Wolverhampton goalkeeper Carl Ikeme who is expected to make his international debut today. The 29 year old has impressed for Kenny Jackett’s side in the last few seasons and would be hoping to keep a clean sheet in his first match for Nigeria.
“My father and other members of my family will be in attendance to watch me play and cheer the team not only in this game but the next game against Niger as well and hopefully everything will move smoothly” Ikeme told Super Sports on his arrival to Abuja to join the team.
And in Enyeama and Mikel Obi’s absence, CSKA Moscow forward, Ahmed Musa would be handed the captain’s band and saddled with the responsibility of motivating the Super Eagles on the pitch against Tanzania.
Source: Daily Trust