The end of 2019 signals the end of another decade, but in the football world, it has been loaded with so many unforgettable moments and exciting actions across the board.
To close out the decade, Cheapgoals in this piece, put together the best player in each position on the field of play for the Super Eagles in the last decade.
The year 2010 saw the end of what many regarded as the golden generation of Nigerian football, with the likes of Kanu Nwankwo, Finidi George, Daniel Amokachi, Taribo West, Austin Okocha, Samson Siasia, and the likes were among the players in that golden era that excelled with their talents. From their club careers to national team moments, as the legacy of that era is well recognized by the football-loving Nigerian fans.
2010 saw the emergence of a new era, with the likes of Mikel Obi, Ahmed Musa, Joseph Yobo, and the likes were already established internationals at the start of the decade, as 2010 started with them as the faces of Nigerian football.
As the decade wore on, more players emerged and made their mark, however, the criteria used for the selection of these players include, impact in the national team, titles won for Nigeria and consistency of their respective club careers.
Name: Vincent Enyeama
Enyeama is arguably Nigeria’s greatest goalkeeper, he was the undisputed Nigerian goalkeeper of 2010, he started the decade by winning the League and Cup double with Hapoel Tel Aviv in Israel before a move to Lille in France.
Life in France didn’t start very well for him at Lille, but after a loan deal back to Israel in the 2012/13 season, he became the first-choice goalkeeper at the club and delivered incredible performances. In the 2013/14 season, Enyeama kept 11 straight clean sheets in Ligue 1 and was close to equaling a league record.
For the national team, Enyeama was ever-present in the Super Eagles and played in all the games at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) and the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
He was the vice-captain and played a crucial role as Nigeria won AFCON 2013 in South Africa and was included in the Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) Team of the Tournament. His last tournaments with the Super Eagles were the 2013 Confederations Cup and the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Name: Joseph Yobo
You cannot mention one of the best defenders who wore the green and white jersey of Nigeria without mentioning Joseph Yobo, because of his longevity and dedication in the team.
Yobo capped 101 times and represented the Super Eagles at three FIFA World Cups and six Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, which in the mix he won the Nations Cup in 2013, as the captain of the team though he didn’t play an important roles in winning the competition, but his leadership and presence in the team was enough to ginger the boys to triumph.
We also cannot forget in a hurry his role with the Nigeria team at the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship quarter-finals, we’re he shuns like a million stars in the competition, and thereafter Yobo went on to made his senior international debut against Zambia in 2002, in a FIFA World Cup qualifier.
He also played a key role in all of the six matches in the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations, and that performance were enough to get him included in the squad for the 2002 FIFA World Cup , where he was again ever present, and he did assisted Julius Aghahowa’s goal in a 2-1 loss to Sweden at the World Cup.
Yobo made his second World Cup appearance at the 2010 tournament in South Africa, after which he assumed the captaincy on the international retirement of Nwankwo Kanu, and was appointed as the captain of the team, but during this period the veteran defender was no longer the first choice in the team and of course at 2013 Africa Cup of Nations but lifted the trophy after appearing as an 89th-minute substitute in Nigeria’s 1-0 final triumphed of Burkina Faso just to honour his presence in the team.
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In 2014, Yobo was included in late Stephen Keshi ‘s squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, he was named in the starting line up for both the second and third group matches, helping the Super Eagles to clean sheet in a 1-0 victory over Bosnia & Herzegovina. And thereafter he made his 100th international appearance, captaining Nigeria against France in the round of 16 matches.
Yobo announced his international retirement when it was evident for him that he is no longer relevant in the team anymore saying, “This is it, I can look back on my career with great pride”. “I wanted to leave on a high for my country, defeat by France was not the right way to go but I’m happy with all I’ve done for the national team”. It’s time to give a chance to other people to come through.” those are the words of Joseph Yobo as he went on to retire.
We cannot talk about his international career without talking about his club career, Yobo had a stint with Standard Liege in Belgium, Marseilles in France, Tenerife in Spain, Everton where he played most of his career playing on a high, Fenebache in Turkey, and Norwich in England.
The highlight of Yobo’s career was when he became the record appearance holder for an overseas player at Everton, a record he held until early 2012, and he went as far to be named captain for the UEFA Cup match against Larissa of Greece in 2007, in the absence of Phil Neville the captain of the team and thus became the first African to captain the club.
Though Yobo isn’t familiar with scoring goals often, but In 2009, Yobo scored his first goal of the season against West Ham United to seal a 3-1 win for Everton, and In the 2009-10 season, Yobo had to adjust to his new defensive partner, Sylvain Distin, after Joleon Lescott left and Phil Jagielka got injured to suit his style of play.
He did brilliantly well with every club he turned out for, but Everton was more like home to Yobo, so therefor Yobo is one among the best Nigeria player in the last decade.
Name: John Mikel Obi
Mikel Obi, another brilliant player which his role in the team can’t be undermined as one of the best in this decade. Mikel started his journey in the team and into the heart of football-loving Nigeria fans when he represented the Nigeria U20 team at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, and he went on to win the Silver Ball for the second-best player at the tournament behind the best player at the tournament Lionel Messi, as he helped Nigeria to finished as runner up to Argentina, a brilliant performance that announced him to the world.
Step forward to his debut with the national team, in 2005 when he came on as a second-half substitute in a 1-0 friendly win over Libya, and since then he kept on shunning out a brilliant performance for the national team. Though he didn’t play for the national team again prior to him being named in the squad for the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations due to some issue which some Nigeria fans felt probably he was choosing the match to honor at his own convenient time.
Mikel presence in the team got better as he continued to show why is very crucial for the team, in a match that came to mind against Ghana, Mikel was an unused substitute in that match, however, he was introduced into the second game against Zimbabwe early in the second half and within ten minutes of coming on, he made his presence felt as he assisted both the corner that resulted in Christian Obodo opening goal in the game and he scored Nigeria’s second goal.
He fully made his first international start in Nigeria’s final group game, a match that ended in favor of Nigeria against the Teranga Lion of Senegal.
2007, wasn’t a good year for Mikel as he was suspended from all Nigerian National Teams after manager Berti Vogts dropped him from the team’s squad for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Niger for failing to attend their previous match against Uganda, a decision that rekindles the narratives about him picking games he wished to honor, however, Mikel cited an injury as the main reason, but because he did not attend an official check-up by Nigerian officials, he was dropped.
Thereafter, Mikel was suspended when he refused to play for the Nigerian U23 side, a decision he made which later resulted in him being suspended by the Nigeria Football Federation. However he did apologize to all Nigeria fans, and he was called up to the national squad for the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana.
Mikel did brilliantly well at the tournament, he scored one goal and registered one assist in a match against Benin to help Nigeria qualify for the quarterfinals against hosts Ghana, but the Eagles eventually lost to the host and their West African arch-rivals.
Talking about his achievements with the national team, without talking about his club achievements won’t be complete. Let start with the controversial transfer deal to England, when he moved from Lyn Oslo in Norway to England, as Chelsea and Manchester United were in a transfer tussle to sign the Nigeria midfielder.
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In 2005, few days after turned 18years of age, the biggest Premier League club Manchester United announced that Mikel and his club in Norway already struck a deal with them to sign the player, as the United’s website also claimed that they had done a deal directly with the teenager and that he had signed a contract to join them.
Unfortunately for Mikel, things got worse as his agent said he was bypassed, and the club persuaded the youngster to sign a four-year contract without his consent and proper representation, which led to Lyn Oslo allegedly sent a fax to his agents abroad, claiming their services were no longer required by Mikel.
However, United arch-rival Chelsea later came out with a statement that they already had an agreement with Mikel and his agents, but Lyn denied this claim. However, subsequent reports indicated that Chelsea claimed to have been involved in arranging the player’s original move to Europe with a view to signing him at a later date, which in the end the deal went as planned for Chelsea and he played for the Blue Army under the tutelage of then Chelsea manager José Mourinho.
Mikel later expressed his delight at joining United in a statement during his press conference, where he was pictured holding up a Manchester United shirt bearing the shirt number 21, but in the end, it was Chelsea that had the last laugh amid a lot of transfer controversy, however rather than leaving FIFA to determine the validity of the contract signed with Manchester United, Chelsea intervened by volunteering to settle the transfer saga through negotiation with Lyn and Manchester United, in the end, Chelsea got their man in Mikel.
Mikel made his first start for Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League against Bulgarian club side Levski Sofia in 2006, as he took a powerful shot which the goalkeeper failed to save which led to Didier Drogba scoring the rebound, and Mikel was praised for his impact and performance in the game.
However, without boring you with all of the things that transpired in his career, but then Mikel won a whole lot with Chelsea, among those trophies is the League Cup final in 2007, in a match, Mikel was sent off in injury time haven’t came on as a substitute after clashing with Kolo Touré.
In other subsequent games for the Blues, Mourinho deployed Mikel as a starter in a holding role in key games where he impressed greatly, notably in the Chelsea against Tottenham Hotspur FA Cup sixth round replay match, and the Champions League quarter-final games against Valencia, the Champions League semi-final games against Liverpool and also the victorious 2007 FA Cup Final against Manchester United.
Mikel won the League with Chelsea, won the FA Cup, and the UEFA Champions League among others, more so one thing that looks synonymous with Mikel was the fact that every manager that came to Chelsea did always found a way to used him in the team, even till he left before he joined Tianjin Teda in China in 2017, recently he also had a stint with Middlesbrough, which he later left for his present club in Turkey. However, all of this was a big testament to the fact that John Mikel Obi is definitely one of the best players in the Nigeria team for a decade.
Name: Ahmed Musa
Club: Al Nassr
To say Musa was the genesis of the decade in review, we ain’t talking out of point, because in 2010 under tutelage of the Super Eagles manager Lars Lagerbäck, he was called up to join the Nigeria National Football team camp prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa after he had helped Nigeria to win in the 2010 WAFU Nations Cup where he scored a goal against Benin.
In the same tournament against Burkina Faso, he scored a goal deep into extra time which shot Nigeria into the finals of the tournament in Abeokuta, but couldn’t make the final list of Super Eagles’ 30 man World Cup roster due to an ankle injury.
In 201o, age 17, Musa made his debut for the Nigeria senior team in a qualification match for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations against Madagascar, where he came on as a substitute for John Obi Mikel in a 2-0 win, as time gone by Musa scored his first goal for the Super Eagles in a friendly against Kenya.
In 2011, he came into the team again when he was invited for the Nigeria National U20 football team squad to represent the Nation in the 2011 African Youth Championship qualifiers, even though VVV Venlo had declared him unavailable for the tournament due to club commitments, but in the end, his club agreed to allow him left after some intense negotiations with the Nigerian Football Federation. Musa eventually won the most valuable player award after the opening game against defending champions Ghana.
Musa’s growth into the national team was an organic process, in 2011, Musa represented Nigeria U20 in the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup held in Colombia, where he scored three goals in five matches, and he was included by FIFA in the shortlist of 10 candidates for the Adidas Golden Ball, which was awarded to the most outstanding player of the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Also in 2011, Ahmed Musa was one of the four nominated players, that was nominated for the Confederation of African Football Most Promising Talent Award, however, the award went to Ivory Coast’s Souleymane Coulibaly, and preceeded his called up to Nigeria’s 23 man squad for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
Musa scored in the 4-1 semi final defeat of Mali and appeared as a substitute against Burkina Faso in the final, as the Super Eagles won their third continental title. Overall, he appeared in five of the team’s six matches at the tournament, but at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, the story was different because he started all three matches of the team, but his performance couldn’t save the Eagles as they were eliminated in the group stage of the tournament.
Musa did justify his inclusion in Keshi’s team, as he rewarded the manager with a brilliant performance for putting his faith in him when he was named in Stephen Keshi’s squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and Musa went on to scored two goals in the team’s final Group F match, in a 3-2 defeat to Argentina.
In 2018, he was also named in Nigeria’s preliminary 30-man squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, and at the competition proper, Musa delivered a brilliant performance against Iceland scoring twice in the match, a performance which was the highlight of the team at the Mundial.
Fast forward to June 2019 he became the third most capped player for Nigeria’s national team, surpassing Nwankwo Kanu after appearing in a friendly against Zimbabwe, and he went on to named in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations team by head coach Gernot Rohr.
Musa’s club career was even more organic, in January 2012, Musa signed for Russian side CSKA Moscow for an undisclosed fee, scored an 82nd-minute consolation goal in a 5-1 UEFA Champions League away rout to AS Roma, in June 2015, Musa signed a new four-year contract with CSKA until the end of the 2018-19 season, haven’t performed well for the team prior to the new contract.
Musa finished the 2015-16 Russian Premier League season as the 5th highest scorer, becoming one of only seven players aged 23 younger to reach double figures for goals in each of the past two seasons in Europe’s top seven Leagues with the Russian side, and he did win trophies with the Russian side before he left for Leicester City in England for a club-record move of £16.6 million, but in the end, the marriage between Musa and Leicester didn’t work out well, he was then loaned back to his former club CSKA Moscow in Russia.
Though Musa isn’t playing his football in mainstream Europe anymore, yet his still very much relevant with the national team, as the manager of the team kept inviting him being the captain of the team, with all this Musa definitely is one the best player in Nigeria in the decade in review.
No disrespect to other Nigeria players who had at one point don the Green and White Jersey, and who had done well for the team, they are well recognized but the players and decade in review were very important to Nigeria Football with what they contributed into the team, coupled with their consistencies anytime they are called upon to turn out for their country.
Super League: Respect & Dialogue Needed To Restore Normality
The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, disapproving the concept of Super League
President Gianni Infantino has called for respect and dialogue as he expressed FIFA’s strong disapproval of the proposed European Superleague project, and has requested that the concerned parties consider their position in line with respecting the institutions that exist to protect the interest of national, European, and global football.
“FIFA is an organization which is built on values, the true values of sport,” said the FIFA President in his address to the 45th Ordinary UEFA Congress in Montreux, Switzerland.
“It is an organization that is built on our statutes, the statutes that define the institutional framework, with the pyramid, with FIFA, the confederations, the associations, the leagues, the clubs, the players. And at FIFA, we can only strongly disapprove of the creation of a super league which is a closed shop, which is a breakaway from the current institutions, from the leagues, from the associations, from UEFA, and from FIFA, which is outside of the system. There is no doubt whatsoever of FIFA’s disapproval for this.”
The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, and a model that he promoted in his 16 years at UEFA:
“FIFA is here, and I am here today as FIFA President, to bring full support to European football, to UEFA, and the 55 member associations of UEFA and of FIFA, to the leagues, clubs, players, and to fans. To all the fans, all over Europe, and actually all over the world as well.”
“We can see that there is a lot to throw away for the short-term financial gain of some,” the FIFA President added. “People need to think very carefully, they need to reflect, and they need to assume responsibility. They need to think not only of their shareholders, but they need to think about all the people, of all the fans, of all those who have contributed to making European football what it is today. It goes back not only decades, it goes back more than one hundred years. People – with love, with passion, with commitment – have created all this. And we need to protect this. It is our task.”
“FIFA is a democratic organization, an organization that is open,” the FIFA President concluded. “Everyone can bring ideas and proposals, but always with respect for the institutions, leagues, associations, UEFA, and FIFA.
With respect for the history and with the respect for the passion of so many people around the world. I understand as well that on these particular days, emotions are very high, but we need to always keep the line. Football is hope, and it is our responsibility to make hope a reality. So we hope that everything will go back to normal and that everything will be settled, but always with acting responsibly, with respect, with solidarity, and always in the interest of national, European, and global football.”
2 Potential Manager To Replace Hansi Flick
Hansi Flick awesome reign with the Bavarian giant is gradually winding down, as it’s looking likely that he may not further manage the Die Roten next season.
Bayern Munich’s quest to win the Champions League consecutively came to end on Tuesday night, via the UEFA’s away goal rules having lost the first leg at home to Paris Saint Germain in the quarter-finals despite being the better side at home.
The Bavarian giant will now focus on league duty and they’re no doubt the team in pole position to win the Bundesliga, as the 2020-21 campaign is gradually coasting home with fewer games left to be played. In that regard, there is a great need for Die Roten to start preparing for next season administration and coaching wise.
The friction relationship between Hansi Flick and the Sports Director has broken down to such as extent that the manager has decided to terminate his current contract.
Hansi Flick sent shock waves through German football on Saturday after a 3-2 win over Wolfburg which keeps the Bavarian in pole position to retain the league title. Hansi Flick issued a statement about his decision to exit when the current campaign draws to a close.
“I told the team today that I informed the club during the week, after the game in Paris, I would like to terminate my contract at the end of the season.
“It was important to me that the team learn this from me because there was already a lot of hallway rumours going around.
“We’ve done a great job together for almost two years. I’m absolutely impressed with this team, their quality and their attitude.”
He added: “I also want to thank the club that gave me the chance to manage this incredible team.
“This decision was not easy for me. I’m a fan of this club. Gerd Müller, Paul Breitner, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge all were childhood idols for me.
“I’m eternally grateful to the club for the chance they gave me to become head coach here.”
It’s quite evident that a new manager would be appointed to pave way for a new rebuild of the team especially with the looming departure of David Alaba, Jerome Boateng, and Javi Martinez.
Two potential top managers that could succeed Hansi Flick, should he accept Die Mannschaft managerial position.
- Julien Nagelsmann – (RB Leipzig)
Nagelsmann has been rumoured as a possible replacement to succeed not one but many managers in Europe’s top-flight leagues whose future with their respective clubs are not guaranteed. This time around, the 33-year-old has been rumoured to be one of the possible potential managers to succeed Hansi Flick.
It could be argued that Nagelsmann is the tailor-made manager to take over the reins at the Allianz Arena, and there is no doubt RB Leipzig manager would certainly harbour the dream of managing one of the biggest clubs in Europe.
Nagelsmann is presently focusing on the job at hand with RB Leipzig, plus the fact that he’s still under contract with his employers until the end of the 2022-23 season.
With RB Leipzig and Nagelsmann flying high in the Bundesliga in terms of team performances, with next season European football spot already secured, the club’s Executive Director Oliver Mintzlaff may consider letting him leave to join their rival.
However, it’s left to be seen how things would shape up at the end of the campaign.
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- Jurgen Klopp – (Liverpool)
The relationship the German tactician has achieved thus far with Liverpool started in 2015 when he joined the Kop from Borussia Dortmund, since then he has achieved quite an incredible success with the Reds winning their first league title after thirty years and a Champions League triumph.
Liverpool were eliminated early in both domestic cup competitions and failed to progress past the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and it’s quite impossible to say that the Kop will defend their title with their current epileptic form in the Premier League especially when it’s looking done and dusted that the cityzen would clinch the title.
Having used close to six years with Liverpool since he joined the Anfield side, this could be the perfect time for the former Borussia Dortmund manager to take up a new challenge. However, despite Liverpool’s unpalatable 2020-21 campaign, the German has often reiterated that he is in no way finished at Liverpool, despite been link to the Bayern Munich and Die Mannschaft managerial position.
Given his incredible success with BVB, it’s quite evident that he would one day go on to manage either Die Roten or Die Mannschaft. Should Bayern secure the service of Klopp, he would certainly be the right and wise choice for the Bavarian giant.
At the end of the campaign, there would be a breath of fresh air in the Bavarian giant camp, with the new CEO Oliver Kahn taking the mantle of leadership from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. In that sense, it’s left to be seen if the incoming leader would sanction the appointment of a new manager or stick with Hansi Flick. Only time would tell.