Former Super Eagles players have rebuked Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr for inviting FC Ifeanyi Ubah defender Adeleye Aniyikaye, who was last in action for his club in June, for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Bafana Bafana of South Africa and the friendly against Uganda.
Friday Ekpo, Adegoke Adelabu and Segun Oguns said Rohr should have opted for a home-based player who had been in action in recent times rather than an inactive defender.
Eagles Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr called up Aniyikaye for the November 17 qualifier at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg and the international friendly against the Cranes at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, three days later.
The defender’s invitation came after Rohr was condemned for constantly excluding the Nigeria Professional Football League players from his team selection.
However, Aniyikaye who has been part of the Eagles Team B, last played a match for his club five months ago. His last for Ifeanyi Ubah was in their NFPL Matchday 23 match against Kwara United in Ilorin in June.
If team selection was not an issue outstanding players like left-back Ikouwem Udoh and forward Mfon Udoh who played crucial roles in getting Enyimba to the semi-final of the CAF Confederation Cup, including Kelvin Itoya, who inspired the come-back win for Enugu Rangers in the final of the Aiteo Cup against Kano Pillars, who have been active for their clubs, should be considered for call-up.
Ekpo said, “The best criterion for inviting players to the national team anywhere in the world is their current form. The coach made a mistake in inviting such a player because it will amount to a waste of chance for the others who are active and also in good form.”
Adelabu believes that the player’s invitation would reduce the morale of others who have done well but were overlooked by the coach.
“As much as we want the home-based players in the Eagles, they should be invited based on their current form. There are players who are active and can challenge the overseas-based ones for starting places in the team – these should be the ones to be invited,” he stated.
“Rohr is a coach who doesn’t have a team he trains – so he is not largely to blame. Rather his assistants and scouts, who advise him on the players, should be the ones to educate him on the current form and the last time players were active in their clubs.”
Former Eagles goalkeeper Oguns also believes that the coach made a mistake in his decision.
“The Super Eagles were once known for their enterprising playing style and flair but this has fast disappeared because the right players have not been invited. Players should be invited on their form and not otherwise.”
Gernot Rohr has however not made any comments as regards the statements by the former Eagles.