FALL BACK KESHI: Rejected Sanni Keita May Become the Cornerstone for Super Eagles at AFCON 2013

Sanni Kaita
On a good day, the present Super Eagles of Nigeria can wreck any team – no doubt about that. The Attacking options of Ikechukwu Uche, Ahmed Musa, Osazes Odenwingie, Victor Moses and Emmanuel Emenike are capable of scoring as many goals in one game. The question is, how many a feel day can you find in a tournament like African Cup of Nations (AFCON)? The competition is so keen and you need a very balanced team to survive each stage.

It’s amazing that a country as Cote d’voire, ranked number one in Africa with a lot of big stars, couldn’t win the tournament in the past few years. So, it’s not about big names, it’s about building a balanced and formidable team - the kind of team character displayed by Zambia and Egypt in recent years.

Super Eagles is far from being a balanced team in its present state. The defense is so porous. The team has not just gotten the right combination of defenders. More disturbing is the midfield. Apart from Mikel Obi, the Chelsea star, the present players at that middle cannot hold their own against studded teams as Zambia, Cote d’voire, Ghana …

Sanni Kaita received Red Card Against Greece

I stand to be corrected, but one weak point I have observed about Super Eagles Attacking approach to most games, is the inability of the players to fall back after a failed attack on the opponent team. Most of the players do not have the stamina to run forward and backward again for 90 minutes. I’ve also observed that the team does not have ball winners like Sanni Kaita. This may be a problem. It may be difficult for the team to super-impose its play against the opponent team.

As I presume, if Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi, is planning to play Mikel as a creative midfielder upfront, then he needs a combative midfielder as Sanni Kaita, to play behind and do all the ‘dirty jobs.’

Sanni Kaita is a master ball winner and has more than enough stamina to run to and fro the pitch as long as the game last. Kaita who was unanimously sacked by Nigeria fans and media for his irrational behavior during the 2010 World cup, that earned him a red card against Greece, deserves a second chance. I am not paid to write this post, but most football followers in Nigeria knew Keita is not an indiscipline player.

Perhaps, one lesson we all refuse to understand about the incident is, Kaita removal greatly revealed that he was the pillar behind the team. Super Eagles fell like a pack of cards after he was taken off the game. You can watch that game again to find out what I have just said. As a matter of urgency, Keshi should look for Sanni Kaita and other quality defenders like, Taiye Taiwo, Onyekachi Apam, Chinadum Onuoha… Sanni Keita is presently on a six months Loan at Greek Super league side, Iraklis.

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