Former national team players have berated Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr for inviting FC IfeanyiUbah defender Adeleye Aniyikaye, who last played for his club in June, for the Cameroon 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa and the friendly against Uganda.
Ex-internationals Friday Ekpo, Adegoke Adelabu and Segun Oguns said the coach should have gone for a home-based player who had been active rather than the out of action defender.
Eagles coach Gernot Rohr called up Aniyikaye for the November 17 qualifier at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg and the friendly against the Cranes at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, three days later.
Aniyikaye’s invitation came after Rohr was criticised for persistently excluding the Nigeria Professional Football League players from his plans.
But Aniyikaye, who has been part of the Eagles Team B, last featured in a match for his club five months ago. He last played for IfeanyiUbah in their NFPL Matchday 23 match against Kwara United in Ilorin in June.
With exciting left-back Ikouwem Udoh and forward Mfon Udoh both playing pivotal roles as Enyimba reached the semi-final of the CAF Confederation Cup and Kelvin Itoya, who started the come-back win for Enugu Rangers in the final of the Aiteo Cup against Kano Pillars, active for their clubs, the ex-players questioned the invitation of the former Prime defender.
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 dampen the spirits of the 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.”
And former Eagles goalkeeper Oguns believes the coach erred 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.”