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Eagles without effective playmaker in Russia, says Ibru


Eagles’ Victor Moses jubilates after scoring against the Argentines in the final group D match at St Petersburg Stadium, Russia…on Tuesday. The joy was, however, cut short after Marcos Rojo’s goal won it for Argentina. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

A former board member of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA), Emmanuel Ibru, has said the Super Eagles’ first round elimination was due to lack of an effective player maker in the team.

Ibru, who is the Chief Executive Officer of AS Racing FC of Lagos, told The Guardian yesterday before departing St. Petersburg for Lagos, that the performance of the team could have been better if Eagles had an effective playmaker.

“The team was not a bad one, but I feel that after this World Cup, there are some players who should no return to the team again.


Players like Ogenyi Onazi, Joel Obi and Elderson Echiejile have played their part, and should be dropped from the Eagles.

Captain Mikel Obi tried his best at this World Cup, but we can see that age was no longer on his side. Mikel has been around the national team since 2003, that is 15 good years.

He may still have a role to play in the 2019 African Nations Cup qualifiers.

“So many people are calling for the sack of Gernot Rohr because we couldn’t qualify from the group stage, but I feel that will be the worst decision to take at this point in time.

“Now, our focus should be on the 2019 Nations Cup qualification, and not sacking of the coach irrespective of the politics that is going on back home.

But I also feel that this is the time to look at the direction of some players, who could not make it to the World Cup.

Players like Ola Aina, Moses Simeon, Leke Jeans, Steven Eze and Junior Lokossa should be brought into the squad as quickly as possible,” Ibru stated.

Asked if he will support Pinnick’s re-election bid, Ibru said: “It is a difficult question.

Though I am an advocate of continuity, but it must be positive. Amaju has done well in the international front by placing Nigeria high in the CAF and FIFA.

But when it comes to our local league, I have not seen much improvement. There seems to be a lot of lapses in our local league, and that is why we are relying on foreign-based players.

If Amaju is re-elected, the local league must be looked into both administratively and developmental point of view.”

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