Why Keshi should have used Ike Uche against Kenya

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After
what seemed a poor outing at the Africa Cup of Nations, Ikechukwu Uche was left
out of the squad to play Kenya in a World Cup Qualifying match in Calabar on
March 22.

Some
will say Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi was on point there and that Uche
didn’t deserve to play.
Others
would have said he should have been given another chance but I say if Uche had
played against Kenya, maybe, just maybe he could have scored.
I
also say, Ike Uche did not flop in South Africa at the AFCON but people only
thought he did because he did not score goals and probably was not as
enterprising as we know him to be.
But
why should Keshi have included him in the squad to play Kenya, knowing he was a
shadow of himself in the few games he played at the AFCON?
AFCON 2008
At
the Africa Cup of Nations in 2008, Ikechukwu Uche played three games for
Nigeria and did not get a single goal.
Did
anybody notice, or was it just that we had in form players like Yakubu
Aiyegbeni, Osaze Odemwingie and Obafemi Martins and so we couldn’t have been
bothered by Ike Uche’s goals or lack of them?
At
the AFCON of 2010, Ike Uche did not play because he was injured but there was
really no guarantee that he would have painted Angola red with goals or even
South Africa at the World Cup if he was fit to play.
Ike
Uche simply does not know how to score goals away from his comfort zone while
wearing the colours of the Nigerian national team.
A
look at Uche’s international goals shows he has 18 of them so far and is the
highest scoring Nigerian currently in the national team but how many of those
goals were scored away from his comfort zone?
Uche’s
first goal for Nigeria was against Lesotho in a 2008 AFCON qualifying match
played in Warri, Nigeria. That game ended 2-0 and Uche scored the second goal
for Nigeria.
But
the amazing statistic here is that, of his 18 goals for Nigeria, only 4 were
scored away from home.
There
are players like that. Could it be psychological? Maybe he is more comfortable
at home playing before the home fans? Why is he in amazing form in Abuja,
Warri, Calabar and Kaduna but cannot find his feet as soon as he is on enemy territory.
Is there any answer to that?
Did
the coach of the team, Stephen Keshi know this bit of information? Did the team
psychologist, Robinson Okosun know this while in South Africa?
Could
he have needed help from either of them while on road trips? For example, since
Stephen Keshi became coach of the national team, Ike Uche has scored five goals
with only one of them being on the road against Liberia in Monrovia.
Maybe
if Keshi knew this, he would have invited Uche for the game against Kenya and
the result could have been different, just maybe.
Based
on this, if I was Keshi, I wouldn’t invite Uche for games on the road but he
will be a certainty for all games the Eagles play at home… well, until such a
time he has shaken the monkey off his back that affects him in road games

Below is the
list of goals Ikechukwu Uche has scored for the Super Eagles
1          8 September 2007        Warri Township Stadium, Warri, Nigeria
  Lesotho
2–0      2–0      2008
Africa Cup of Nations qualification
2          9
January 2008          MPFS Marbella,
Estepona, Spain
 
Sudan
1–0      2–0      Friendly
3          1 June 2008     Abuja Stadium, Abuja, Nigeria
  South Africa
1–0      2–0      2010
World Cup qualification
4          21
June 2008  Abuja Stadium, Abuja, Nigeria
 
Equatorial Guinea
1–0      2–0      2010 World Cup
qualification
5          6 September 2008        Telkom Park, Port Elizabeth, South
Africa
  South Africa
1–0      1–0      2010
World Cup qualification
6          7
June 2009    Abuja Stadium, Abuja, Nigeria
 
Kenya
1–0      3–0      2010 World Cup
qualification
7          27 March 2011            Abuja Stadium, Abuja, Nigeria
  Ethiopia
3–0      4–0      2012
African Cup of Nations qualification
8          27
March 2011           Abuja Stadium, Abuja,
Nigeria
 
Ethiopia
4–0      4–0      2012 African Cup
of Nations qualification
9          29 March 2011            Abuja Stadium, Abuja, Nigeria
  Kenya
3–0      3–0      Friendly
10        1 June 2011    Abuja
Stadium, Abuja, Nigeria
 
Argentina
1–0      4–1      Friendly
11        1 June 2011     Abuja Stadium, Abuja, Nigeria
  Argentina
3–0      4–1      Friendly
12        5 June 2011    Addis
Ababa Stadium, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
 
Ethiopia
1–0      2–2      2012 African Cup
of Nations qualification
13        8 October 2011            Abuja Stadium, Abuja, Nigeria
  Guinea
2–1      2–2      2012
African Cup of Nations qualification
14        15 November 2011     Ahmadu
Bello Stadium, Kaduna, Nigeria
 
Zambia
2–0      2–0      Friendly
15        3 June 2012     U. J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar, Nigeria
  Namibia
1–0      1–0      2014
World Cup qualification
16        16 June 2012  U. J.
Esuene Stadium, Calabar, Nigeria
 
Rwanda
1–0      2–0      2013 Africa Cup
of Nations qualification
17        8 September 2012        Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex, Monrovia, Liberia
  Liberia
2–1      2–2      2013
Africa Cup of Nations qualification
18        13 October 2012         U.
J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar, Nigeria
 
Liberia
5–0      6–1      2013 Africa Cup
of Nations qualification

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