By
China Acheru

I had often wondered why
Nigerian clubs do not play with any unique style and this is since
the last 20 years.

I started watching the
Nigerian League in 1981 and I saw a couple of styles. Enugu Rangers’
direct style was as a result of their recruitment policy in the 70s
and 80s.

Unless you fell under the
exception talent umbrella you had to be at least six feet tall to
play for Rangers.

Their style was difficult to
come against until the likes of Bendel Insurance and Stationery
Stores in the late 70s and early 80s basically disgraced the Enugu
warlords and they knew they needed a change.

In the 90s, Lagos based, NEPA
FC were known as the Brazilians of the Nigerian League. Coached by
Joe Erico, a style he called Jogo Bonito wowed Nigerian league
watchers back in the day.

Julius Berger FC in the late
80s and early 90s were known as the Germans because of their
difficult to crack defence.

Sharks FC too under Monday
Sinclair for many years between 1988 and 1997 played a
Barcelona-esque style that was a beauty to watch but in the last two
decades, Nigerian clubs hardly turned up with a unique style.

When Manu Garba first signed
up for Gombe United in the off season I thought he was going to bring
about a revolution in the way our league clubs turn up, something,
Imama Amapakabor started at Rangers FC last season.

In the U17 and U20 teams that
Manu Garba handled, there was a unique style of play- high pressing,
swift passing wing game that wowed every one that watched, so I
wondered if he replicate these at Gombe United?

Well, eighteen games later he
has been given a three match ultimatum which can only tell that the
hierarchy at the club have not enjoyed either the football on display
or their position on the log.

I watched Gombe United play
against Abia Warriors in Umuahia at the start of the season and the
display was a far cry from what we know Manu Garba’s teams have
offered in the past.

Was it the quality of the
pitch? Maybe the age of the players who could have been too old to
learn new tricks? Or could it be he did not have time to instill his
philosophy in them?

Whatever the answer is, I know
Tiki Taka is not possible, at least not just yet in the Nigerian
League. If it was, then Manu Garba’s Gombe United would have done
it.

At least no Nigerian club
plays an enjoyable passing game just yet. Our football here is just
too direct.

Rohr
and the Eagles’ list

Just before I posted this
article I saw the Eagles’ call ups to the friendly game against
Corsica and it first just took my mind back to some words of an old
rap by DMX.

I will get to that line in a
bit but let me explain.

A lot of people think there is
a foreign invasion of the Super Eagles and are not happy it. I do not
understand what the fuss is, as long as these “foreigners” are
Nigerians and are good enough to play, but some people think
differently.

Having said that, I simply do
not think Dele Alampasu is Super Eagles’ material.

I just want to be convinced
that someone who plays for a 3rd division club, anywhere
in the world is good enough for the Eagles. I’m trying hard to be
convinced. Yet he has had just two appearances for this 3rd
division side since the season kicked off? Rohr and his scouts need
to do better.

But maybe the coach is not
convinced that the Nigerian League goalkeepers are good enough. He
has watched less than five games this season so those whose jobs it
is to convince him have not done a good job at it.

Right now he is down to bare
bones. The first choice, Carl Ikeme is out injured. Former captain,
Vincent Enyeama was due a return but it also out injured and it seems
Daniel Akpeyi is not back to full fitness after suffering an injury a
few weeks back.

But are the likes of
Theophilus Afelokhai and Sunday Rotimi that bad for a “meaningless”
friendly game against Corsica?

The
midfield seems Nigeria’s strongest point these days as without
Mikel Obi and Ogenyi Onazi, there seem to be little fears as Wilfred
Ndidi has acquited himself well at Leciester City, John Ogu is a
league champion again in Israel and playing well too while Oghenekaro
Etebo has recently made a name for himself as the engine room of the
team.

But
that DMX song again.
DMX

I
don’t even know the title of the song but it had nice beats and DMX
acting all crazy while rapping and a line caught me, “Give a dog a
bone, leave a dog alone,”

Nigerians
had cried out in the last six weeks that the coach, Rohr had
neglected Nigerian League players for what they call a foreign
contingent and what did the coach do? He threw a bone at them to keep
them quiet, chewing on it.

Ikechukwu
Ezenwa (FC Ifeanyi Ubah), Ibrahim Alhasan (Akwa United), Sikiru
Olatunbosun (MFM) and Stephen Odey (MFM) is more than enough to keep
Nigerians quiet while Rohr goes about the business of getting his
team for the game against South Africa.

The
next argument now is whether these players are good enough to be in
the team or if they are just there as a home based quota… yes, give
a dog a bone, leave a dog alone.

Nigerians
are quiet right now, but when the team lines up against Corsica or
when the team for the competitive game against South Africa is named,
Nigerians will know if these ones deserved their call ups.

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