Former Chelsea player Victor Moses makes my first eleven in my All-Time Green/Super Eagles team I was asked to select by Temisan Okomi on twitter. A team that seems to have stirred controversy with followers on the Social Media app.
Since 1960, if you had to choose your Super Eagles/Green Eagles XI, with a substitute bench, who would you put in it?
— Temisan Okomi (@temiokomi) January 12, 2020
Above was the original tweet.
I decided to have a go and here is my team:
Enyeama; Okechukwu, Chukwu, Odiye; Moses, Keshi, Oliseh, Owolabi; Odegbami, Yekini, Okocha.
Subs: Okala; H Nwosu, Yobo, Kanu, Ekeji.
— Calvin 'Emeka Onwuka (@CalvinEmeka) January 12, 2020
As I started to think about the players who have won the Green-White-Green of Nigeria from when I can remember – which will be from 1977 to date, it had me stumped first.
Anytime I get asked this question I always try to think as a coach and a formation that can be used in a real match situation. I decided to go for a 3-4-3 formation.
Vincent Enyeama: I saw Emma Okala, Best Ogedegbe, Peter Rufai and a few others keep goal for Nigeria but there was none as consistent as Vinny. In the years I watched him closely, I can’t remember any goal the Super Eagles conceded in which I thought “Vinny could and should have done better there”. That is a special quality.
I chose three centre-backs:
Uche Okechukwu: Between 1989 and 1998 “Big Igbo” (as Westerhof used to call him) was the best Nigerian defender of that generation of Nigerian players. He was unbeatable in the air, tackled fiercely and led his men. He was also a very reader of the game which meant he rarely ever had to go on the floor to win balls.
Christian Chukwu: The first SI Unit of measuring defenders for the Nigeria national team. Took over from Godwin Achebe as the Green Eagles captain in 1975 holding the band till after captaining Nigeria to our first AFCON win in 1980. He was a leader, scoring goals for club and country.
Godwin Odiye: Famous for that own goal in November 1977 as the Green Eagles failed in the campaign to qualify for the 1978 Argentina based FIFA World Cup. Alongside Chukwu, Odiye was incredibly quick, tackled and headed anything that moved. Played for Nigeria at three AFCONs between 1976 and 1980. He speaks candidly here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-P4RIv-vTTk
I chose four players ahead of the CBs two of who will be wing backs.
Victor Moses: His inclusion is what has caused consternation and has probably led to this blog. In the wing back role that I have chosen for this team to play, I can only give it to Moses. In South Africa when the Super Eagles won the AFCON in 2013 he was vital in the win as a free forward across the front line. In Brazil he contributed his bit with the team that eventually fell to France in the second round. Four years later, Moses was influential as the Super Eagles qualified from a tough qualifying group to make Russia. Played in the wing back role in Russia.
Felix Owolabi: AFCON ’80 winner, Owo Blow played in every role down that left hand side for the Green Eagles. He would be at home as Left back, Inside left or as left winger. He has the energy to play as a wing back and the defensive nous to cover for who will be the nominal left sided player.
Stephen Keshi. Another leader. The Big Boss was at home in central midfield as he would be as centre-back. He and Chukwu would not have been an ideal partnership at CB hence my moving him into midfield where he will form a double pivot with
Sunday Oliseh: Oliseh made his debut in 1993 and held his role till the end of AFCON 2002. He was the one who redefined the role for the Super Eagles after Westerhof had tried Austin Eguavoen and Emeka Ezeugo without much success in the role. Oliseh had it all in that role.
Austin Okocha takes the nominal role of being in the hole behind the two strikers. It was straight battle between Okocha and Henry Nwosu, in the end I plumped for JJ because he was pure magic and in tight situations he could be counted upon to produce a rabbit out of a hat.
Segun Odegbami: Nigeria’s first football superstar and the best player as Nigeria won the AFCON on home soil in 1980 would make any team of all time for anyone who saw him play. I had written about Odegbami in this article
Rashidi Yekini: Nigeria’s all-time leading goalscorer. Goalsfather needs little introduction as without him it would have been extremely difficult to qualify for our first world cup in 1994. He was the top scorer as we won the AFCON in Tunisia in 1994 and was Nigeria’s first African Footballer of the year in 1993.
The team will be coached by Clemens Westerhof. Here is an extensive interview with the former Super Eagles manager https://youtu.be/jhd0QPlq-og
With the team and formation I decided to go with, I have had to leave out Finidi George, Humphrey Edobor, Adokiye Amiesimaka, Emma Amuneke, Ben Iroha, Austin Eguavoen, Henry Nwosu, Patrick Ekeji and many many more. I have chosen a team to play.
Haruna Ilerika – he spoke to us here too https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3a8WQZ_vCeU , Thompson Usiyan I was too young to have watched them. Usiyan interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFq5h4VNvXk
Please feel free to let me know your thoughts.