Since Nigeria coach Shaibu Amodu named his 24 man squad for January’s African Cup of Nations, there were many doubts with some of his selection picks, as Amodu has decided to name a very inexperienced defensive line up. However the attacking side of Nigeria’s squad looks like it could well terrorise opponent’s defences later this month. I will take a look at three key players, who could well guide Nigeria to African Cup of Nations victory…
Captain Fantastic – Nwankwo Kanu
Former Arsenal star Nwankwo Kanu is currently the captain of the Nigeria national team. The Super Eagles number four will be Nigeria’s most experienced player at this year African Cup of Nations, as Kanu has been capped 79 times for his country. Also the Portsmouth striker is currently the oldest player in the Nigeria squad at 33 years of age; however Kanu has been classed as a midfielder for the upcoming African Cup of Nations, aswell as fellow Nigerian Kalu Uche. Kanu is a very experienced and skilful footballer, however the question is will Nwankwo Kanu be lifting that trophy in Angola on January the 31st?
Midfield Maestro – John Obi Mikel
The young Chelsea midfielder could well make a big impact in Angola in a couple of days time. From the Nigeria squad list, Mikel will definitely be classed as the main man in the Super Eagles midfield, as his desire to tackle could well help Nigeria in this month’s African Cup of Nations. The 22 year will most likely be the defensive part of Nigeria’s midfield, as he could well dissect opposition’s attacks. Mikel has claimed 24 caps for Nigeria so far in his career, plus he has scored two goals for Amodu side. Mikel will definitely be classed as one of Nigeria’s key players.
Key Player – Victor Obinna
Victor Obinna has currently taken Nigerian football by storm, as the 22 year old striker has grown in stature over the past two years, as he has been scoring some important goals for his country. He was a vital asset in Nigeria’s 2008 Olympic squad, as he scored against Japan and Cote d’lvoire. Obinna also captained the Nigeria side in their semi final match against Belgium, however Nigeria were able to progress into the final of the Olympics but they lost out to Argentina. On the other hand the year 2009 was a great year for Victor Obinna. The Malaga loanee netted three times in the 3rd round of World Cup qualification, as he scored twice against Kenya and once against Mozambique. Victor Obinna is my player to watch for Nigeria in this month’s African Cup of Nations tournament.
Nigeria Squad In Full…
Goalkeepers – Vincent Enyeama(Hapoel Tel Aviv), Dele Aiyenugba(Bnei Yehuda), Austin Ejide(Hapoel Petah Tikva)
Defenders – Taye Taiwo(Marseille), Obinna Nwaneri(Sion), Danny Shittu(Bolton), Onyekachi Apam(Nice), Uwa Elderson Echiejile(Rennes), Joseph Yobo(Everton), Chidi Odiah(Cska Moscow), Yusuf Mohamed(Sion)
Midfielders – John Obi Mikel(Chelsea), Sani Kaita(Kuban Krasnodar), Seyi Olofinjana(Hull), Ayila Yussuf(Dynamo Kiev), Dickson Etuhu(Fulham), Kalu Uche(Almeria), Nwankwo Kanu(Portsmouth)
Strikers – Victor Obinna(Malaga), Peter Odemwingie(Lokomotiv Moscow), Chinedu Obasi(Hoffenheim), Obafemi Martins(Wolfsburg), Yakubu(Everton)