CHAN: Trial moment for Oliseh

By Ikenna Okonkwo on 17/01/2016

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As Nigeria’s super Eagles Home Lads file out on Monday to take on Niger in their very first match of the ongoing 4th edition of African Nations Championship, CHAN in Rwanda, many things no doubt would definitely be running inside the head of Sunday Oliseh, the man in charge of Nigerian side.

CHAN is a tournament usually organized biannually for players plying their trade within their countries of origin.

Being coach Oliseh’s initial competitive outing since he was appointed head coach in July, 2015 after his employers, Nigeria Football Federation, NFF ousted Stephen Keshi, Oliseh, former Captain of the country’s Senior National team is seriously inundated with the task of salvaging his image in a bid to prove that he could be a better bargain after all.

Keshi as the gaffer who first in 2014 managed Eagles team B to be part of CHAN ever since it began pulled out bronze after leading Nigeria to third finish two years ago in South Africa.

And so, all eyes particularly teaming Nigerian football lovers would certainly be on Oliseh who is expected not to perform below par.

Piercing right inside his mind at the moment, one could deduce the fact that his job as a National team tactician at the senior level is only to deliver. Galvanizing the team to play till final or at least finishing as the third best would only save him from blushes.

Leading no fewer than 23 players to as from today confront group C opponents Niger, Tunisia and Guinea inside Nyamirambo stadium in Kigali, capital of Rwanda and Umuganda Stadium Gisenyi, another Rwanda City, Oliseh and his technical crew including his Assistants Salisu Yusuf and Francois Losquito as well as Aloy Agu, the goal keeper trainer many said have big issues to contend with as long as African football was concerned.Image result for olisehOliseh

After facing Niger on Monday, Nigeria will be up against Tunisia on Friday before trying Guinea for size next week Tuesday.

Notwithstanding, ex-Nigeria international Nduka Ugbade has remained positive on the ability of Nigerian team to cross every hurdle despite the fact that Oliseh was initially not convinced that he has a home squad that would conquer the continent.

For Ugbade, “I don’t always have any doubt that we will not able to win a tournament especially when it is staged in Africa. My concern is always when we take part in tournaments that are held outside the shores of Africa.

“So my expectation for the home-based Eagles ahead of this year’s CHAN is that they should be able to do very well, win most of their matches and go on to win the cup.”

Talking about the first game, Flying Eagles assistant handler enthused “Nigeriens are very slippery. They know how to use the ball very well. And each time we played against them, it was always very difficult.

“But I’m confident that with the caliber of players and coaching crew that we have, we should be able to beat them.”

The biggest criticism against the team coach Stephen Keshi lined up in South Africa was that they were not really representative of the best players in the Nigeria league as all the coaches were far removed from the domestic championship.

The result was that players like goalkeeper Chigozie Agbim and Solomon Kwambe, who only managed a handful of games for their local clubs, were picked ahead of better and fitter players on the domestic scene.

That cannot be said of the current CHAN Eagles as the backroom staff Salifu and Agu took the pains to scout for the best players to fly the flag proudly for the ever-growing Nigeria league.

In Rwanda, Nigeria is parading some of the stars of the past season – Tunde Adeniji and Chisom Chikatara scored between them 29 goals in the last campaign, defenders Chima Akas, Austin Oboroakpo and Orji Kalu were consistent at their clubs, while Ifeanyi Matthew, Paul Onobi, Ezekiel Bassey and Bature Yaro were the driving forces for their respective teams.

The team before their arrival in Rwanda had a training tour at South Africa where they played Angola and Cote d’Ivoire in international friendlies in Pretoria.

Oboroakpo...ruled out of Niger clash

Former Coach of Nigeria U-17 Henry Nwosu is of the opinion that Super Eagles must strive hard in order not to disappoint Nigerians.

He said “This is a big opportunity for the players, and they should make sure they use the tournament to let the world see the commitment in Nigerian players by ensuring they work so hard to win the tournament,”.

“I must commend the NFF and the coaches for the efforts they have put in to prepare the team for the tournament and I hope the players will give their best.

“I don’t expect them to disappoint us at the tournament and the only thing I can say is that I urge Nigerians to believe in the team and give them all the support they need to excel,” he concluded.

Coordinator of the team, Patrick Pascal assured that as cup favorites, Nigerians are left with no option but to smile at the end of the championship adding “The improvement in the league last season has been good benefits to this team, if you check all these players got here on merit and they deserved to represent Nigeria.

“We have a solid team that should conquer other African countries, we won Bronze the last time and it is important we don’t drop the standard.

“The advantage also is that performing well in the championship will improve our FIFA rankings, the team is battle ready.”

 Image result for chan eagles




Posted on January, 17 2016

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