ELDERSON ECHIEJIE’S BIG MOVE: 5 Reasons Why the Nigerian Defender May Succeed in Monaco

It was a mix feeling really, after some international media broke the news on Friday January 17, 2014, that Elderson Echiejie has signed a four and half years contract with AS Monaco; a deal that will keep him in the French Principality club until June 2018. Consequently, many Nigerian fans around the world started celebrating. But as the days went by their celebration began to turn into curiosity and many wondered if the Nigerian International Left full back has made the right choice at a time like this.

Nigeria will be participating in FIFA World cup in Brazil this June and require that all the team players be in their best form during the mundial. So fans wonder how this move will benefit the national team, where Echiejie has won 38 caps and is a main stay in the present squad.

Indeed, AS Monaco is by far a bigger club in Europe than Echiejie’s former club SC Braga of Portugal. Monaco is a real contender for the French Ligue1 title. The team is presently placed second on the league table, just five points behind leaders, Paris Saint Germain (PSG), so that means Echiejie will be playing a more competitive football with some top stars Monaco signed this season. Well, that calls for celebration if only Echiejie makes the first-term and play regular with the Monaco squad.

 It hasn’t been rosy for most Nigeria national team players that made a move abroad this season. Perhaps, the most disappointing is Victor Moses loan deal from Chelsea to Liverpool. Many football fans thought that the Nigerian Player of the Year 2013 would have been an instant hit at Liverpool, but he has been reduced to a fringe player.

Taye Taiwo is another Nigeria National team player whose football has gone out of course because of his wrong move to AC Milan. While Stephen Keshi, Nigeria national team coach is considering inviting Taiwo back to the national team; most of his major defenders like Kenneth Omeruo and Godfrey Obaobona aren’t also enjoying first team play in Chelsea and Requiem respectively. So fans are worried that Echiejie’s move to Monaco may not go with the same fate.

I don’t think so and I will give you five reasons why I think Echiejie may succeed in Monaco as a first team player.

1.      Signed to Meet Specific Need of the Club: Echiejie was signed because Monaco has the need to strengthen its left full back position. Apart from Eric Abidal who is a national left footer, but plays as a central defender, there’s no natural left full back in the team.

2.      Conversant With French Ligue 1: Echiejie cut his teeth in the modest French Ligue1 team – Rennes. He understands the French style and the momentum of Ligue1. I believe he can instantly adapt into the Monaco first team.

3.      High Playing Potentials: Monaco’s technical director, Ricardo Picimi said Echiejie is a very good player who still has room for improvement. His intelligence and spatial awareness of the changing conditions of each game makes him adapt easily into any team. Echiejie is a relatively mobile player that has the capability to move with the pace of the game to and fro. He is one defender that also scores goals.

4.      Disciplined and Diligent:  Echiejie is a cool headed player that works so hard in training and in conditioning himself. He is always right and up to specified standard set for the team. You could easily deduce this in the tactical discipline of his games.

5.      Monaco a Good Club for African Players: Since the days of George Weah, Monaco has been a club that brings out the best in African players. Players like Didier Drogba, Lukman Haurna had good stint with the club. Perhaps, Victor Ikpeba was more successful in the club than all. He was popularly called ‘Prince of Monaco’ when he scored 19 goals to help Monaco win the French title in 1997 and was also awarded the African Footballer of the Year. Some pundits are already saying that Echiejie may become the ‘new Prince of Monaco.’

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