NIGERIA’S WORLD CUP TEAM: 5 Things Stephen Keshi May Consider in Selecting Players for the FIFA Mundial in Brazil

 Super Eagles fans all around the world want Stephen Keshi, Nigeria National football team coach, to select only the best legs for FIFA World Cup in Brazil next year. There’s no gain saying it, that’s exactly what Keshi would like to do. No coach works to fail; no coach would want to leave the best for good.

Rather, it isn’t as easy as it seem when selecting players in a country like Nigeria with vast array of considerable players both home and abroad.

It’s more than just pushing forward names of good players like: Ikechukwu Uche, Victor Anichiebe, Taiye Taiwo, Obafemi Martins, Osaze Odenwingie, Chinedu Obasi… There are critical factors Keshi may put into consideration before he can come up with a list of what he deem his best players for the assignment.

Let me share five of such factors to help fans understand why Keshi may not be entirely ‘objective’ as fans would want it.

1.  Special Abilities: What a player can bring or add to the team is one critical factor for consideration and we don’t expect that Keshi’s emotions will becloud his objectivity. For instance, Keshi shouldn’t just select a player like Chigozie Agbim, as third choice goal keeper, thinking he will not get to play him. The vagaries of the competition may put him in a position where he has no other option but to play him.

Therefore, the coaching crew should carefully carry out a proper scouting rport and analyseis of each player before selection.

2.      Competitive Form: A player who isn’t playing regularly for a club in a top flight league may not be able to keep pace with the momentum of FIFA World cup games.

Keshi shouldn’t base his selections on big names or past performances. The current form of each player is so important. We can all recall the case of Ikechukwu Uche in AFCON 2013, where the star striker couldn’t keep up pace with the competition. Thank God Emmanuel Emenike was there to cover up for him. But now, no one can question Ikechukwu  Uche’s current form in FC Villarreal.

3.      Medical Fitness: An extraordinary player who has injury may not be able to contribute much in high competitive games of FIFA World cup. A half fit player may immediately become ‘short one’ if his injury relapses.

Keshi shouldn’t risk that no matter how emotionally attached to the player. I cannot overstate it here, a player nursing any form of injury or other medical ailments should be dropped from the team.

4.      Patriotic Spirit: No matter how good a player like Osaze Odenwingie is, it may be difficult to select him because he hasn’t demonstrated both mental and emotional willingness to play for Nigeria.

Any player who hasn’t displayed such willingness to give his all could sabotage Nigeria’s quest to win the world cup; such player shouldn’t be selected. That’s why I personally think Victor Anichiebe should be left alone. He is not interested in playing for Nigeria again.


    Team Chemstry:  Super Eagles current team has developed chemistry (a Blending) both in playing style and team cohesion. For instance, it may be difficult to add a good player like Chinedu Obasi, who is a bit slow, to the fast pace attack of the current team. Unless, off-course, for tactical options, Keshi may select him as a game changer.

More importantly, Keshi shouldn’t select any player whose adverse attitude may cause disaffection among players or who has the tendency to stir up rebellion. As we all know, team spirit is such an essential ingredient for world cup success.



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