New Super Eagles Head Coach Sunday Oliseh has insisted that the reason why he excluded Odion Ighalo from his list of players expected to prosecute next Nations Cup qualifier match between Nigeria and Tanzania was that two invited strikers Anthony Ujah and Emmanuel Emenike parade better credentials.
Ighalo was a major omission from an 18-man squad despite his exploits for both club and country.
In June, Ighalo scored his first Eagles goal in a 2-0 home win over Chad in an AFCON qualifier and he got off to a flying start in the English Premier League with a goal on the opening day of the season.
Fielding questions from newsmen after taking charge of the Home-based team early morning training for the first time, Oliseh who flew into Abuja from Lagos on Monday night admitted that Odion was a good player but can’t make him part of his squad at the moment.
There have been wide spread criticisms from most football-loving Nigerians who fault the content of foreign-based invitees by Oliseh.
However, the former Super Eagles captain maintained, “Well, Odion Ighalo is a good player. It’s just that this match against Tanzania, we invited two players for each position in order to instill competition into various positions. Also, I think we have some heavyweight in Emenike and Ujah.
“I know there is going to be concerns in some quarters that Ighalo was not invited but again if you want the best from players you have to give them some respect. Emenike was a Nations Cup player; Ujah scored 10 goals in German league that host the best of players in the world. Come on, let’s not start argument, let’s talk of other things.
Talking about his very first experience with the country’s local stars, Oliseh quipped “From what I can see, there is a lot of work to do but the response so far is quite good.
“I’m optimistic and realistic despite the tight schedule before us. We have to get the train on track. Gradually, we will get things working rightly.
Asked why he demonstrated to players over what he expected them to do during the training which took place inside the main bowl of Abuja National stadium, the Eagles’ handler said “I don’t believe in just telling players what to do, I show them what to do. I think is the best way to make them understand. Visual education is better than verbal.”
In a related development, Super Eagles coach Sunday Oliseh has revealed he will pick five players from the domestic league to join the 18 foreign pros for a September 5 AFCON qualifier against Tanzania.
Twenty three players from the domestic league began training in Abuja yesterday under the supervision of the new coach.
The former Eagles captain also expressed satisfaction with the fitness level of the home boys, stressing that he expects them to improve as the camp progresses.


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