It is no longer news that Yakubu Aiyegbeni and Sani Kaita have been recalled to the Super Eagles. While some analysts agree that Aiyegbeni merits his recall, others have criticised Kaita’s recall especially as he is seen to be on the fringes of his club in Ukraine.
Akinbode Oguntuyi, a football analyst, belongs to this group. “I think for Aiyegbeni, while the coach is within rights, because The ‘Yak’ is scoring goals now; but it is crucial to clarify where exactly he is going with the player,” he said. “While it is okay to invite the inform players to help steer a team through qualifications, it may be retrogressive and counter-productive to include such aging players in long term plans, especially as younger players are already in the frame, and rebuilding is in progress."
Oguntuyi also added that it will be very crucial to the coach’s plan to get a firm commitment from the player in terms of behaviour and attitude while on national team duty, so as not to negatively influence the new players who are showing so much commitment now.
“It would also have looked good if the coach had invited one of the up and coming strikers, either from the local league, or from abroad, to understudy Aiyegbeni,” he said. “This would have made his recall easier to understand.”
Kaita’s recall after his 2010 World Cup misadventure against Greece is totally baffling according to Oguntuyi.
“The case of Kaita is a bit more complicated,” he said. “There are various sites that give up to date data on player performance from all around the globe. So it means that all a coach needs to verify or debunk any (agent generated) hype around any player is simply log on.
This makes the recall of Kaita a conundrum: he has less than 10 starts out of 22 league games for his team. The coach has Dickson Etuhu on call, while there is no apparent creative midfielder in that list, why recall Kaita now? Raheem Lawal, who was a major revelation at the last U-23African Olympic qualifiers, should have been included in place of Kaita. Or are we going to defend in Kigali?”
The foreign players are all expected to get to the Eagles Abuja camp by February 27, as they will be travelling to Kigali on February 28 on a chartered flight for the match that will take place in Kigali on February 29.