Over the years Nigeria has forged a rich history of producing talented players who went on to announced themselves at the big tournament and more so in Europe to suitors who will love to have them in their ranks.
Ironically, some of these players did not get to fulfill the potential of their early years and had to be taken as one-off wonders for the Super Eagles and to some extent their various club sides.
Cheapgoals in this piece profiles few Nigerians players who never lived up to their full potential as a footballer, after showing some semblance of talents when they first came into limelight.
Name: Ayodele Makinwa
Makinwa’s exploit with the national team was due to his performance with SS Lazio in Italy, the former Eagles forward was synonymous with a whole lot of Italian club sides, but critically he was well known with Lazio, Makinwa played for the Nigerian national team and won 14 caps since making his debut in 2004.
He played at the 2004 African Cup of Nations where the Eagles finished third, two years after that, he was also among the players that lost at the AFCON 2006 in Ghana.
Throughout his stint with the Super Eagles playing the AFCON in 2004 & 2006 where Nigeria came home with bronze medals respectively, the former Lazio striker could only boost 18 game appearances for Eagles and two goals to his name while playing for the national team till he retired from the game.
Unfortunately for the football enthusiasts in Nigeria, when Makinwa came into limelight, they all thought he is the next big thing after bread and butter, but in the end, the talent and the potential to lead the line shown by Makinwa then were nothing but a one-off performance.
Name: Sunday Mba
Mba’s show of success can be traced back to his exploit with the Nigeria B team that won the 2010 WAFU Nations Cup, and he continued on that stride by signing for Rangers on loan in 2013.
The former Super Eagles midfielder continued his show of success with the national team when he inspired Nigeria to a third continental title in 2013 at South Africa putting a star-studded Ivory Coast side to the sword in the quarter-finals, and in the final against Burkina Faso.
Unfortunately for the Nigerian fans who thought Mba will go on to achieved great things with the national team, all of that ended in shame, as he was never seen to reprise such performances in the green and white for Nigeria.
Mba was last seen slugging it out in the Turkish League with Yeni Malatyaspor, in the final years of his career, a career that promised so much for himself and Nigeria, but unfortunately, he couldn’t fulfill the potential and fall short of the magnificent expectations due to wrong choices of club and to some extent his decisions.
Name: Joel Obi
The talent of Joel was first noticed in 2009 under Jose Mourinho when he was playing with the U17, but couldn’t play with the senior team, got into the team when he made his debut with Inter Milan under the then manager Rafael Benitez in 2010.
No doubt the former Inter Milan midfielder’s talent cannot be over-emphasized with his command on the ball, his vision to pass the ball and his versatilities in midfield, which got him the call up to the Super Eagles under Siasia which he never disappointed.
However, injuries have been a major headache for the midfielder which has limited his chances in the Super Eagles and his club career which got him struggled with all of the clubs he turned out for.
Obi now plies his trade with the Turkish club side Alanyaspor despite all of the potentials he showed growing up, that alone it’s a big testament to how he couldn’t fulfill his full potential as one player that was once touted as the next Okocha.
Name: Godfrey Oboabona
At just 22-year of age alongside Omeruo, Oboabona aptly described as the next big thing in the heart of the defense for Super Eagles and a delight to watch anytime he’s on the field of play.
Oboabona got into the team for his blistering performance for Sunshine Stars at the home front in the NPFL in 2013, and he went on to become one of the important players for the late Keshi at the AFCON.
The former Eagles defender signed for Rizespor after becoming one of the best defenders in the tournament, playing over 95 matches for the Turkish outfit, and also had a stint with Al Ahli.
Many expected Oboabona to surely attain the heights of the promises he showed with his craft of defending, but he was unable to sustain that momentum as his move to Gorica has shown his career downturn.
Name: Chinedu Obasi
One tournament that is still very fresh in the memories of Nigerian fans was Obasi immense contribution to the team that finished runner up at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship where he dazzled as a million stars.
Obasi also played for the Super Eagles when he was called in 2010 for the AFCON, where he scored in the group stages, and he went on to helped the team finished in third-place at the 2010 Afcon. He also played at the World Cup for Nigeria which was his debut, and he showed why Nigerians should trust him.
But from there on, with all of the glimpse of great things the fans were hoping to see from Obasi things wasn’t stellar for him due to injuries and loss of form sums up his predicament and why he failed to lived up to his potential.
Name: Obinna Nsofor
Club: Cape Town City – Unattached
Obinna’s talent was evident to all football-loving faithful when he dazzled brilliantly at the U-20 for the Flying Eagles that won the gold in Benin in the African Youth Tournament in 2005.
Nsofor is blessed with the powerful ability to hit super shots with precision and he was quite a handful against the opposition, and such was his quality to why he was a darling to the fans.
Nsofor did have the best of his careers in his Chievo days and even when Inter Milan risked signing him, however, the trust invested in him by Inter didn’t yield good results.
Towards the twilight of his career, he signed for South African outfit Cape Town City where he played under Benni McCarthy, since then his mesmerizing skills, frills and shot had long been forgotten by Nigerian.
Name: Dele Adeleye
Club: FC SKA-Khabarovsk – Unattached
Adeleye caught the eyes of Sparta Rotterdam when he was playing for Nigeria at the U-20 FIFA Youth World Cup in the Netherlands in 2005 and had a fantastic stint with Netherlands based club. He also made his first senior cap in a friendly against Ireland on 2009.
Adeleye’s performance for Nigeria got him the nickname the new Uche Okechukwu, especially for his performance against Madagascar where he played his heart out for the team.
However, despite the abundance of love showed to him by the fans, Adeleye couldn’t leverage on the immense potential he showed when he first came into the limelight since then the former Shooting stars career has gone under the radar.
Name: Anthony Ujah
Club: Union Berlin
Ujah’s first stint was with the Nigerian U23 team when he was called up to play against Tanzania, and he was also among the squad selected for the 2013 FIFA Confed Cup.
Time without number, Ujah has proven to be a natural goal scorer and the former Warri Wolves forward has been a force to reckon with in the German Bundesliga with notably Werder Bremen et al in Germany.
However, the former FC Cologne striker’s did get his chances to lead the line for the Super Eagles at different occasions when he was called up due to his great exploit in Germany but failed to delivered and also failed to live up to expectations, putting into consideration how much the fans expected him to deliver.
Although Ujah did had the in-form Emmanuel Emenike and Odion Ighalo and likes to contend with when called up, but then when he got the opportunity to play he fluffed it and he never lived up to the billing.
FIFA Congress To Decide Future Host Of FIFA Women’s World Cup™
Council assigns FIFA Women’s World Cup™ hosting decision to the football governing body’s Congress; also approves financial statements for 2020 and budget for 2022.
Meeting by video conference, the Council conferred to the Congress the decision to award Women’s World Cup™ hosting rights.
Until now, the decision has been taken by the FIFA Council, most recently in June 2020 when the hosting rights for the 2023 edition were awarded to Australia and New Zealand.
As the football governing body seeks to raise the profile of the women’s game, this represents a significant step to bring the Women’s World Cup in line with the flagship men’s competition.
The proposal will be put forward for a final decision by the 71st FIFA Congress, which will meet virtually (for the second time) on 21 May.
International match calendar and release of players.
The FIFA Council received a report on the international football situation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bureau of the Council had extended to April 2021 the temporary amendments to the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players regarding the release of players for international duty, and FIFA, the confederations, and its member associations remain in dialogue with national authorities about exemptions from quarantine rules for national team players.
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The FIFA Council recognized that the highest priority in football is the health of the players, and therefore the discussion around the release of players for international duty must maintain this perspective, especially as the public health situation develops around the world.
2020 financials and 2022 budget
The Council also approved the organization’s Annual Report, which contains the financial statements for 2020 and the budget for 2022.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 focuses on the role played by world football’s governing body in the fight against COVID-19, primarily through the unprecedented COVID-19 Relief Plan, which has made available USD 1.5 billion to support FIFA’s 211 member associations and the confederations through times of financial uncertainty.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 is available on the official site.
FIFA Arab Cup 2021™
The Council approved the competition regulations for the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, confirming the match schedule and draw procedure for the competition taking place in Qatar from 1 to 18 December this year.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Fédération Internationale de Football Association.
Paul Onuachu: A Victim Of Tactical Deficiency
Ever wondered why Genk forward Paul Onuachu has always been a prolific figure for his club and find it hard to replicate that form with the Super Eagles when invited?
The Nigeria international has been in awesome form for the Blue-White, scoring 26 goals in the Jupiler League this season for Genk, while his scoring prowess at his club has been a contrast to his form with the national team under Gernot Rohr scoring just once in 9 games despite being a top performer at club level.
Ahead of the AFCON qualifier doubleheader against Lesotho and the Benin Republic, Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr named his 23 man list with the inform former Midtjylland forward listed as one of the standby players.
Onuachu’s struggles with the Super Eagles in previous games he featured is quite baffling, considering the excitement that greeted his first appearance with the national team plus the impressive form he’s currently in.
The job of every manager is to find a suitable position or fashion out tactics that would be suitable for their players in other to blend with the team approaches to every match. In Onuachu’s case, he hasn’t been fortunate enough to blend in with Rohr’s tactics. While at club level, Midtjylland plays to his strength.
However, due to Napoli’s players been restricted from traveling, the Genk forward made it through the backdoor to replace Gernot Rohr’s number one forward Victor Osimhen who hasn’t really hit the ground running with the ‘Partenopei‘, but when with the Eagles, he never fails to deliver.
It’s no doubt that the lanky striker has failed to deliver in his previous games, disappointing the ever-demanding Nigerian football enthusiasts with unforgiving backlashes from the fans. However, his prolific prowess with his club suggests otherwise and consistently makes a case for him to be integrated into the team with a different tactical approach that suits his style.
The era of a target man may have been long gone in football due to the advent of new tactics that have brought about a series of changes in the game. With managers preferring to go with a fast, skillful, or makeshift winger- kind of striker, instead of a target man.
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Looking at how Paul Onuachu plays with Genk upfront shows he’s one of the best target men in football, despite been perceived by many as a slow and old-fashioned kind of forward. However, John van den Bromm has been able to carve out a tactic that suits him which has been evident with his prolific form irrespective of his style of play.
Onuachu’s Super Eagle future might be on the knife-edge with Gernot Rohr not finding the right tactics that suit the Genk forward, especially with him not been consider as the go-to man despite his blistering runs of form in Belgium.
In recent times Rohr’s philosophy of vibrant attacking football with an emphasis on passing in the final third which requires the expertise of brilliant players to implement such tactics hasn’t really favored him.
Having a player in the mold of Onuachu gives Rohr another tactical option and an alternative style of play should the initial approach fails to work as expected, but the German tactician hasn’t really taken advantage of what the man could offer with a different opponent.
Onuachu’s presence in the Super Eagles team should be an added advantage in terms of variety when the normal approach of the manager fails. With an in-form striker on the bench, it could prove valuable, but in the former Midtjylland’s case, Gernot Rohr doesn’t seem to see him as a player that has a future with the national team.
Players in the mold of the Nigerian are quite physically imposing as the point man, though they may not offer the team excellent off-the-ball movement in some cases. However, they often find a way to provide an opportunity which the team could utilize when attacking or defending.
Onuachu’s inability to show a good turn of pace and smart footwork may have been one of the deficiencies that are affecting his chances of blending perfectly into the team.
However, the job of a manager is to help players blend in perfectly, and that’s exactly what Gernot Rohr should be doing. Not only for Onuachu but for every other player who are always finding it hard to replicate club form with the National Team.