Former African Footballer of the Year Victor Ikpeba believes Nigeria do not need former Inter Milan striker Obafemi Martins at the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
Martins, 33, has been in a rich vein of form for his Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua and only last weekend scored a treble in their 4-2 win over Hebei China Fortune.
Martins’ goalscoring exploits have divided opinions among Nigerian football fans on whether he should be given a look-in to the side ahead of the World Cup or not. Ikpeba thinks not.
“Obafemi Martins is not the solution,” said the Prince of Monaco on Monday Night Football on SuperSport.
“When you go to the World Cup, then a player cannot be the solution to your problem.
“We have good strikers. We have Brown Ideye, I don’t know about Emenike but we have experienced strikers that can do the business for us,” added the Prince of Monaco.
Gernot Rohr’s wards have come under serious criticism after last Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to Serbia with many hoping it serves as a wake up call for the side ahead of the mundial.
Ikpeba, a veteran of two World Cup finals is however adamant that the team are as good as they have ever been under Rohr and insists there is no cause for alarm.
“Nigerians should not see this team as bad all of a sudden.
“We should remember this team played during the qualifiers and did well to qualify so one friendly game does not make them bad all of a sudden.”
On the most popular notion that the team missed its talismanic captain John Mikel Obi over the cause of the two friendly matches, Ikpeba disagrees once more.
“I don’t agree that Mikel is the difference. There is no god in football. We shouldn’t start making these players feel like a god,” summed the Olympics gold medalist.
Nigeria have three more friendly games lined up before making the trip to Russia for the World Cup in June.