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Making Keshi’s 23-man squad: The dos, the don’ts

Making Keshi’s 23-man squad: The dos, the don’ts
May 09
16:05 2014
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It is the dream of every Nigerian player to be at the World Cup donning the green-white-green jersey of the country.

Making the provisional 30-man list is a first step to boarding the aircraft to Brazil. Not being among the unlucky seven that will get chopped off the list is the next.

Here is what each player needs to do and avoid doing in order to be at football finest competition.

Note: They are not all footballing recommendations.

Today, the focus is on the goalkeepers vying for three positions in the final 23-man list.

enyeama vincent

Vincent Enyeama
Caps: 89
Club: LOSC Lille (France)

What to do: Avoid injury. Although he’s not injury-prone, injuries from domestic accident cannot be ruled out. That reminds me of what happened to Valencia and Spain’s first choice keeper, Santiago Canizares, on the eve of 2002 World Cup. Canizares, who had 46 caps for Spain, missed the tournament due to an accident with an aftershave bottle, which resulted in a severed tendon in his foot.

What not to do: Avoid distracting the team like he did, under Samson Siasia, during the squad’s preparations ahead of an Africa Cup of Nations qualification match against Madagascar, when he complained about the state of the aircraft provided for them. He got suspended for his effort.

Well, aside that, nothing really. It is highly unlikely that he’ll be dislodged as Eagles’ numero uno.

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Austin Ejide
Caps: 31
Club: Hapoel Be’er Sheva (Israel)

What to do: Recommending a footballing solution, like improving on his form or working harder in training won’t wash, because what he needs do lies outside the football pitch.

He should pray that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) does the unthinkable by sacking coach Stephen Keshi and appointing a German to replace him. The majority of the caps Ejide won came when Berti Vogts bossed the team between January 2007 and February 2008. German managers love big, strong, and…muscular goalkeepers!

Even though Enyeama’s birthday comes up in August, Ejide could still send him a bottle of aftershave and pray for the Canizares Curse!

What not to do: Nothing. He will remain the first-choice as back-up to Enyeama, considering the quality of those queuing for his position.

chigozie agbim

Chigozie Agbim
Caps: 11
Club: Gombe United

What to do: Number one on the queue is Chigozie Agbim, who didn’t do himself a world of good with his shambolic performance at the CHAN tournament in South Africa.

Agbim needs to put all that behind him and put up a fine show if given the opportunity in the three pre-World Cup games against Scotland in London on May 28, against Greece in Philadelphia on June 3, and against USA in Jacksonville on June 7, 2014.

He should also read motivational books; and I particularly recommend Dr. Robert H. Schuller’s bestseller, Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do! Name your problem, and you name your possibility; that’s the message in book. That’s the message for Agbim!

What not to do: Take the challenge from the uncapped Daniel Akpeyi for the third goalkeeper position for granted. Also, he seems the beloved son of Keshi, who stood by him despite his challenge at the CHAN. He shouldn’t betray that trust.

akpeyi daniel

Daniel Akpeyi
Caps: 0
Club: Warri Wolves

What to do: Up his game. It doesn’t sound right to hear that someone on the verge of going to the World Cup is not commanding a jersey at his club. He should dislodge Okiemute Odah as Warri Wolves’ Number One, so he won’t be match-rusty for the next challenge.

Grab his chance with both arms, if called upon in any of the three friendly matches. But like Ejide, a footballing solution might not be enough, if he really desires the third goalkeeping position.

He must not allow people to forget Agbim’s unmemorable outing at the CHAN.

Akpeyi should upload on YouTube, the eight goals Super Eagles conceded in the six games at the tournament. Suggested title? Agbim @his worst!

The video should be shared on very known and unknown social media network. Copies should also be mass-produced at the popular Alaba International Market in Lagos, and distributed free to all football lovers but especially to close family and friends of Stephen Keshi. They need to convince the Big Boss to wield the big stick on Agbim.

What not to do: He should not take for granted the challenge from Agbim, who, despite suffering post-CHAN blues, could yet bounce back in the friendlies lined up for the team.

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