…. Nigerians want to know why Kelechi Nwakali is not going to Russia
…. Rohr scouts have failed and must resign!
Greetings to all Nigerians reading. I want to state here that what you are about to read, is the untold story behind Gernot Rohr recent 30-man provisional list.
The list released few days ago, by Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr is not a true representation or reflection of the best legs available and was not done on merit and fair play.
The match against Atletico Madrid in Uyo has further exposed the dirty business of players selection and has left many with questions begging for answers.
Nigerians want to know why players like Kelechi Nwakali, Chidebere Nwakali and Usman Mohammed did not make Rohr’s provisional list whereas, the likes of Chigozie Awaziem, Uche Agbo and Mikel Agu who are perpetual underachievers under Rohr are back to haunt our emotions even in Russia .
Let me start by saying that most players on that list were selected based on their overall contributions during the qualifiers while a few others were selected based on recommendation. It came to a point when the agents gave Rohr sleepless nights trying to force their players on him, but he stood his grounds and resisted all temptations.
I have said it times without number, that Gernot Rohr is one of the biggest gains of the present NFF board led by Amaju Pinnick. Apart from his commitment to his job, Rohr is a very strict and disciplined personality who does not mix pleasure with measures. I can vouch for him that he doesn’t collect money from players like others before him but I cannot vouch for those men he picked to do the business of scouting.
ROHR SCOUTS DID A VERY POOR JOB
How come Gernot Rohr’s scouts fail to identify the most exciting Nigerian midfielder of the modern era, Kelechi Nwakali.
As media officer of the Flying Eagles in 2016, I worked with Kelechi Nwakali and 22 other fantastic young stars.
Unfortunately the boys failed to pick the ticket to the African under 20 Championship after that painful defeat to Sudan in Lagos but the circumstances that led to that unfortunate event is still fresh in our memories. They were not paid match bonuses and allowances up until the last match with Sudan. This was after the team had defeated all comers home and away and were poised to qualify for the AYC. On the eve of that match with Sudan, they boycotted training, asking for their match bonuses and returned on match day looking lethargic and totally uninterested and the outcome was losing on away goals to a very poor Sudanese side.
That result scuttled the dream of yet another generation of emerging super stars, most of them, the finest Nigeria football have ever seen.
If that team had qualified for the AYC and proceeded to the world Cup, Nigerians would have forgotten so soon the heart aches of watching players like Chidozie Awaziem, Mikel Agu and Uche Agbo in National colours. What we should be seeing or talking about are these jewels with whom I am always well pleased.
Victor. Osimhen ……. Wolfsburg
Kelechi Nwakali ….. . Arsenal
Orji Okonkwo …….. Bologna/ Brescia
Kingsley Michael ….. Bologna
Now these are just five of the lucky few who defied the odds to secure deals abroad but others like Chukwudi Agor, Ejike Ikwu, Funsho Bamgboye, Tobechukwu Ibe, John Lazarus and many more, are left behind to rue the disappointment of not taking their chance when it mattered.
Nevertheless, memories of their exploits in Chile where they won the FIFA under 17 world cup under the tutelage of coach Emmanuel Amunike, still lingers.
Just before the Samson Siasia led Under 23 team departed for Atlanta to finalise preparation for the Olympics, they came up against the flying eagles in a friendly match decided inside the main bowl of the National stadium in Abuja. In that match, Siasia fielded established Super Eagles players like Oghenakaro Etebo, Usman Mohammed and William Troost Ekong but admitted after his team lost 3-2 to the Under 20 boys that if he had the opportunity to choose he will beg Amunike to release Nwakali to the Olympic Eagles.
That Kelechi is still on loan is not because Arsenal is not aware of his potentials or abilities. Infact he was voted Arsenal’s best player on loan last season while with VVV Venlo. Meaning he was voted ahead of England’s Jack Wilshere who was on loan with Bournemouth FC at that time.
Captain of Nigeria under 17 and Under 20 National teams between 2015 and 2016, it was normal to see him rise to the apex of his football career with the Super Eagles. In the same vein, he needs National team games to improve his chances of getting a work permit that will make his dream of playing for his childhood club, Arsenal, a reality.
On Tuesday, at the Godswill Akpabio stadium in Uyo, against Europa cup champions Atletico Madrid, Kelechi stole the show, grabbed the headlines and left a lasting impression in the hearts of millions of Nigerians.
Many said after the game, that since the exit of Austin Okocha from the National team, they have not seen a player that produced such brilliance in 90 minutes of exciting football.
At some point during the game, Rohr was busy admiring the brilliance of this 19 year old wonder kid whose sumptuous strike from 24 meters sold him to the hearts of everyone including Diego Simeone, the Atletico Madrid coach.
Speaking after the match, Simeone said…
“I am impressed with what I saw from these Nigerians especially that number. 11 in the midfield, his goal was top notch and his overall play was very good. Now I know why he is an Arsenal player”.
So the question is, who are Gernot Rohr’s scouts and what have they been doing if they never identified a player as good as Kelechi?
Nigeria will play Croatia in their first match of the World cup on June 16. The Croats have three of the best midfielder in Europe presently.
Ivan Perisic, Ivan Rackitic and Luka Modric are among the finest in the game. The Nigeria midfield is loaded with rigid fighters but lack creativity in the final third.
We have midfielders that don’t score goals and hardly make penetrative passes no wonder our strength lies in the wings where Victor Moses and Moses Simon operate.
Apart from Mikel Obi who scored one of the goals against Cameroon and John Ogu whose goal against Algeria in Algiers was later cancelled with by sanction, others like Ogenyi Onazi, Uche Agbo, Mikel Agu and the rest don’t know the direction to goal.
Now, apart from Kelechi, Rohr’s scouts did not take time to visit or watch Abduljeleel Ajagun, Ifeanyi Mathew or Chidebere, elder brother of Kelechi Nwakali at their clubsides.
Rather what we have are players who have been invited in over ten games under Gernot Rohr but are yet to make their debut.
Of what relevance are these players to Nigeria at the World Cup, what are they still doing in Green and why can’t Rohr and his men resist their temptation.
Gernot Rohr may need to review the activities of his scouts. They can no longer be trusted not only because of these obvious oversight but because overtime, they have shown that they are not just doing enough.
By Adewale Ajayi