Why I wouldn’t play IK Uche against Congo

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Ike Uche
Nigerians
will probably kill me for this, but the truth is that IK Uche may not be what
the Super Eagles need against Congo on Saturday.
After
his ouster from the team, more than one year ago and the public outcry for his
recall, it would be best to see if he turns out to be Nigeria’s saving grace in
Point Noir, but history has shown that IK may not save Nigeria.
A
look at his goal scoring record for the team shows that he hardly delivers away
from home.
The
Villareal of Spain man has scored 18 times for the Super Eagles and is
currently the top scorer for the national team but how many of his 18 goals
were scored in Nigeria, and how many did he score away from home.
It
just seems Ikechukwu Uche cannot score away from home, at least for the Super
Eagles.
In
a game as important as this one, reputation, current form and psychology of
players must be key factors in picking the eighteen who dress for the game,
being it is a must win one.
At
the AFCON in South Africa, Ike Uche, though Nigeria’s top scorer in the
qualifiers, failed to get a goal and was not impressive in the games he played.
Maybe
that was because the AFCON in 2013 was not played in Nigeria.
AFCON 2008
The
only other time he played at the AFCON was in Ghana in 2008 and in three games
he featured in, he didn’t score a single goal.
Maybe,
nobody noticed that he didn’t score in Ghana because the Eagles also had 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, but Uche
played three games without a goal.
Ike
Uche simply does not know how to score goals away from his comfort zone while
wearing the colours of the Nigerian national team.
The fear of the
away ground
Uche’s
first goal for Nigeria was in 2007 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.
His
first away goal for Nigeria was in 2008 in Marbella, Spain in a friendly match
against Sudan. He scored the first goal in a 2-0 win.
His
second away goal came a few months later in 2008 in a 2010 World Cup qualifying
match in South Africa. Nigeria won 1-0
Ike
Uche did not score another away goal until three years later in June 2011 in Addis
Ababa, Ethiopia.
It
was a 2012 AFCON qualifier that ended 2-2 and he got Nigeria’s first goal.
It
was not until a year later in 2012 that he scored again on the road in Liberia
and it was a 2013 AFCON qualifier that ended 2-2 and he scored Nigeria’s second
goal
A closer look at Uche’s
goals
In
a five year goal scoring career between 2007 and 2012, Uche was only able to
score four times on the road.
His
second goal for Nigeria was an away goal in Spain, but it took him scoring
twice at home before getting on the score sheet in South Africa in 2008.
He
went on to score 7 goals at home before he managed his third road goal in
Ethiopia in 2011.
Ike
Uche went on another run of four home goals before he netted in Liberia when
the Eagles drew 2-2 in 2012
Could
it be psychological? Maybe he is more comfortable at home playing before the
home fans? Why is it that he is in amazing form in Abuja, Warri, Calabar and
Kaduna but most times cannot find his scoring feet as soon as he is on “enemy
territory”Is there any answer to that?
Does
the coach of the team, Stephen Keshi know this bit of information? Does the team
psychologist, Robinson Okosun know this about Ike Uche?

Does he need 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.
Based
on this, if I was Keshi, I wouldn’t play Uche against Congo, but someone else
who will guarantee goals.
Ike
Uche would lead my lines against South Africa in Uyo, though.
Maybe,
a doctor in the house or psychologist could help explain this.

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