Russia 2018 World Cup: Replace Mikel with another player — Primate Ayodele

By Victor Enyinnaya on April 22, 2018

Views: 5,512

As preparations for the Russia 2018 World Cup football summit is gradually reaching a feverish height, Primate Babatunde Elijah Ayodele (JP) of NRI Evangelical Spiritual Church, Oke-Afa, Ejigbo Lagos has said emphatically that the idea of building a team around former Chelsea boy, John Mikel Obi is wrong, advising that another player be groomed to fill the gap when the captain is not playing.

He insisted that football as one potent game that has unified the country should be handled with every sense of responsibility and efforts be made to ignite those things that bring out the best from the players in the field of play which will equally create good old memories for teeming fans to discuss, yawn for, clap, relish and also appreciate.

“Therefore there is every need to make the team a balanced one so that one player’s absence will not affect the entire squad in any game be it competitive or friendly. We all saw what the glaring absence of the captain John Mikel Obi had on the team during the last friendlies against Poland and Serbia national sides. Yes, it is great for a player to have good measure of influence in his team not to the extent that whenever he is not in the team the whole set up would like crumble. Obi is an experienced player and has shown great leadership qualities but the technical crew of the team must look inwards in order to stem the tide, so as to boost the young team on adventure in Russia,” he said.

Primate Ayodele who has played a leading role in all facets for the Eagles Russia 2018 World Cup qualification remarked that how the Eagles will go would entirely depend on the ability of the technical crew to be independent minded no matter whose ox is gored and strictly and professionally put their house and acts together by selecting only the fittest, in form and dazzling players who will deliver at the slightest opportunity in the tournament.  He also emphasised on the need for total collaboration, cohesion, focus, zeal and determination among the players as such would play vital roles in the team’s quest for honour in Russia football showpiece.

The cleric pointed out that another major factor that will see the team through is honest and far reaching selection of only the suitable and productive Super Eagles players based purely on merit as well as prompt payment of all their dues by the leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). He said this is one important basis for the team to compete favourably in the June 14 World Cup tournament, adding “anything that will bring distraction among the players should be perfectly shunned.”

He further revealed in an exclusive interview with Daily Sports that the Super Eagles would come out of the group D and take it from there only if the coaches base their selection of players that would lace their boots for the country on merit. “Let me repeat that nothing short of merit selection of the lads would take the team far in the championship. If those in charge allow themselves to be used by both the NFF and other interested groups to smuggle players into the squad for Russia party, it will spell doom for the Eagles and don’t be surprised that Nigeria will again end up a loser,” he warned.

The only way forward would be for all concerned to put on their thinking cap and let sanity prevail during final selection this time around.

“Short cut and manipulation of the list of players that would represent us in important international competitions have turned out to leave sour taste in the mouth and the resultant effect has been nothing to write home about these past years. One prays that this Russia 2018 World Cup festival would mark the water shed in the way and manner we do things.

“It is my belief also that if we get our acts right and together, this Eagles team people with just average players will get us better and respectable placement in our World Cup history so far. That will come if we do things right during the final selection of players that will adorn our colours. That is an all-important national assignment which ought to be carried with every sense of morality and restraint. There are already lots of conflicting interests fighting dirty on who and who will be in the final list of the World Cup. Such tussle will prove to be an ill-wind that would blow nobody any good at the end of the day. We all must be too wary of those marked out to rock the boat. This ticket was not just picked on the road. It was a hard won stuff and we must guide it jealously and make best use of it in Russia,” he advised.

Primate Ayodele who played dynamic role from the background in spirited bid for the team’s qualification for the championship despite bookmakers’ predictions that ranked Eagles lowest in the group that had Cameroun, Algeria and Zambia added that with proper planning and total avoidance from conflicts, cheats and other vices, the team rated outsiders during the qualifiers will get surprise pound of flesh when hostilities get underway.

“The meaning of all these meant that the technical adviser, Gernot Rohr and his crew should be given free hand to decide who makes the final list to Russia. If any form of interference is avoided in the selection of players, the Super Eagles will get there among the bigger boys and teams,” he affirmed.

According to him, if the leadership of NFF will remove pride and work closely with the technical crew and the players, listen attentively to their plights, their complains and sundry, once they are on the same page with the team and avoid being aloof there and then we can see the renewed vigour and strength from the boys to play their hearts out for the love of the country and the game.

“Whatever preparations you think the NFF mounted for the boys to be toughened, let me make it known to you that without marching it with transparency and honesty by ensuring that all the monies that accrue to the players and technical crew are not tampered with like in the past, whatever kind of preparations via friendly matches would count to nothingness. All hand should truly be on deck.  But if you resort in giving the team with right hand and at the same time collecting with left hand, there is problem not only of double standard but that of a man full of deceit. The performance or otherwise of the team in Russia would purely depend on the leadership of the NFF,” he noted.

“If they want drastic improvement, these boys are poised to exhibit their talents to the fullest and to the best of their ability; they did it during the qualifiers which they sustained, as they qualified even before their last qualifier game in Algeria which of course was burgled by the officials of the NFF,” he said, adding, “regrettably those that caused Nigeria that international embarrassment are yet to be fished out.”

•Photo shows Super Eagles Captain John Mikel Obi in action for Nigeria

Source Daily Sports

Posted April 22, 2018

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