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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2004 11:51 am 
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Read the text in bold especially...this cannot be right. He was 19 when he left Ismaili!


Super Eagles on parade against Group D opponents, how feat?
TEN years ago, the Nigerian national team entered Tunisia without the tag of favourites for the African Cup of Nations, but at the end of the competition, the glowing performances of the team earned it the title first time outside home.

The 1994 Eagles were not only super, they were grace and elegance combined. The team not only played purposeful football, it also entertained. The team carried its act to the USA '94 World Cup. Despite being ousted in the second round, FIFA adjudged the team the most entertaining team in the world Cup.

In goal was Peter Rufai, Austin Eguavoen was the right wing back, with Ben Iroha on the left. In the central defence were Chidi Nwanu and Uche Okechukwu, a.k.a. "Gentlegiant". Mutiu Adepoju played on the right half of the midfield.

On the right, we had Finidi George. The team also had Daniel Amokachi, Rasheed Yekini as top striker, Thompson Oliha inside left and outside left Friday Elaho.

The bench will be the envy of any coach. On the bench were players like Austin Okocha, Samson Siasia, Alloy Agwu and other talented stars.

Will the Christian Chukwu-led team equal that feat? Probably yes. But most probably, no.

This team is not only lacking in talent; it also lacks the experience of that 1994 team. As for the bench, it has none. The team cannot even boast of quality first 11 players.

Vincent Enyeama, who is likely to be coach Chukwu's choice in goal, is not consistent. At least he is not a Rufai. Compared to Eguaveon and Iroha, Abbey George and Celestine Babayaro are like dwarfs to a giant.

Chukwu's likely choice of central defender is Isaac Okoronkwo and Joseph Yobo. They cannot be compared to Nwanu and Okechukwu.

It is in the mid-field that Chukwu is really shot of talents. But he has nobody to blame but himself and the power that is at the NFA, or can a country that has talented players like Uche Kalu, and Christian Obodo be short of talents in the mid-field?

The biggest casualty of Chukwu, misjudgement will be Okocha. The playmaker will be made to do extra work.

In Julius Aghahowa, John Utaka, Victor Agali and Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Chukwu has a crop of talented young attackers, but of what use is a strong attack without a strong mid-field, defence and goalkeeper.

Below are Chukwu's players of many colours:

John Utaka (RC Lens, France): Born on March 3, 1985, Utaka moved to modest French Lique 1 side, Lens after the summer of 2002 on a free transfer from Qatari club, Al Sadd. Last season, the Nigerian was the best player in his new club scoring vital goals in the UEFA Champions League as well as in the local league. This time, Utaka has failed to enjoy the kind of heroic welcome he got in his debut season for the club.

Although he has been somehow regular in coach Joel Muller's team this season, the Nigerian has managed to score only five goals in over 22 appearances in all competitions. He has also been cautioned only once. Utaka will be making his Nations Cup debut in Tunisia.

Victor Agali (Schalke 04, Germany): Gangling Okpanam, Delta State-born Agali is staging a return to the Eagles after his self-imposed exile after the 23rd African Nations Cup in Mali. Born on December 29, 1978, the former NITEL of Lagos player joined Schalke from Hansa Rostock, a fellow German Bundesliga side in June 2001 for #3.3m.

Although injury and occasional loss of form have limited his appearances for Schalke this season, the Sydney 2000 Olympics revelation has managed to play just 16 games in all competitions for Schalke. He has scored only four times and has received more yellow cards (5) than the goals he has scored this term. Agali will be playing in his second Nations Cup in Tunisia.

George Abbey (Macclesfield Town, England): Discovered for the Super Eagles last October at the LG Cup held in Abuja and Lagos, Abbey has been a revelation of sort since he made his Eagles debut.

The fair-skinned, River State-born defender plays in the English Nationwide third division with Macclesfield Town, a club he joined in August 1999 on a free transfer.

Born on October 20, 1978 with Port Harcourt as his place of birth, Abbey has stared for Macclesfield 21 times this season. Although he has yet to score from his right wing-back position, he has been cautioned only twice -one a red card last December in his club's FA Cup home tie versus Cambridge, and the other a yellow card early in the ongoing season at Bristol Rovers- Abbey will be making his Nations Cup debut in Tunisia.

Joseph Yobo (Everton, England): Certainly one of Nigeria's most intelligent defenders, Yobo, born on September 6, 1980 in Kano joined Everton in the summer of 2003 from French Lique 1 side, Olympic Marseille for a fee of 3.5m.

A former junior international, Yobo was in the bronze-winning Eagles that played at the last Nations Cup and was also a strong member of Nigeria's squad to the Korea/Japan World Cup in 2002.

A neck injury sustained late November last year has limited Yobo's appearances for Everton this season to 18 games. The Nigerian has had only one yellow card so far and is yet to score.

Nwankwo Kanu (Arsenal, England): Born on August 1, 1976 in Owerri, Kanu joined Arsenal from Serie A side, Inter Milan in Janaury, 1999 for a fee of #4.5m and was an instant hit in his first season at the club. This term, Papilo, as Kanu is fondly called has managed to establish a regular run in Arsene Wenger's team. In fact the gangling, 6.05 tall Nigerian started featuring in Wenger's line-up since late last year. He has played 17 times for the Gunners and has scored only twice-both goals came in the English Carling Cup.

Austin Okocha (Bolton, England): Troubled Okocha has been his struggling Premiership side, Bolton's live wire since he joined from PSG on a free transfer two seasons ago. The mercurial Eagles captain has scored some goals for Bolton this term (against Liverpool in Carling Cup game last December and also, against Aston Villa), he has however played in virtually all important games for the club except last Tuesday's FA Cup replay loss to Tranmere Rovers at the Reebok.

Statistically, Okocha has featured for Bolton 25 times this season and has received two yellow cards.

Isaac Okoronkwo (Wolves, England): Labelled the misfit at the Molineux, Okoronkwo joined the relegation threatened Wolves on a free transfer from Ukrainian side, Shakhtar Donetsk last July. Since his arrival, he has failed to play any Premiership game. In fact the only competitive game he played for Wolves was way back on September 23 last year when his club defeated Darlington, a Nationwide side 2-0 in an English Carling Cup game.

Celestine Babayaro (Chelsea, England): Former junior international and a member of the Japan '93 gold-winning Golden Eaglets team, Babayaro has regained full fitness after injury limited his performance for Chelsea in the first half of the on-going season.

The enterprising left wing-back has featured in his club's last two games versus Leicester in the Premiership where he scored his first goal of the season in a 4-0 whitewash and in the FA Cup 4-0 mauling of Nationwide side, Watford at Stamford Bridge.

Babayaro has appeared only 11 times for Chelsea this term.

Joe Enakharire (Standard Liege, Belgium): Joe has been a revelation for Standard Liege that is currently second on the Belgian Jupiter League table this term. The tall Nigeria defender, who is making his Nations Cup debut has been a regular feature in the club's line-up and has scored a couple of goals in the Belgian FA Cup.

Osaze Odemwingie (La Louviere, Belgium): Fair-skinned, former Insurance of Benin boy, Osaze is making his Nations Cup debut in Tunisia. In Belgium, the Edo State-born player has become a super regular for his club in only his second season in Belgium. Before reporting for Eagles assignment, the young Nigerian has scored three league goals and a UEFA Cup goal for La Louviere.

Garba Lawal (unattched): Tireless midfield machine, Lawal is yet to hook a club after falling out with his Bulgarian top division side, Levski Sofia early last year over money matter. The workaholic Lawal will be making his third Nations Cup appearance in Tunisia after featuring in the 2000 and 2002 editions.

Ikpe Ekong (Shenyang Gendi, China): A surprise inclusion in the final squad to Tunisia, Ekong has been a failure in his over 13 years sojourn in Europe before moving to the far East, precisely China where football was until very recently, a past time activity. Throughout Ekong's stay in Europe, he never played for a truly big club.

Yakubu Aiyegbeni (Portsmouth, England): Currently one of the most lethal strikers in the Eagles squad to Tunisia, "Yak", as Aiyegbeni is fondly called in England has scored eight goals for Portsmouth so far this term in 24 games. He has been cautioned thrice. Aiyegbeni scored his first Premiership goal against Manchester City last August and has scored four times for Portsmouth in their last three games!

Pius Ikedia (RBC Roosendaal, Holland): Petit Eagles Winger, Ikedia, a last minute invitee to the Eagles' Faro camp will be making his Nations Cup debut in Tunisia. Nicknamed the Matador by the Australian press after his dazzling runs at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Ikedia has been having a swell season since his loan move to Roosendaal from his original owner, Ajax Amsterdam.

Although he stared for Groningen, another Dutch Eredivise team last season, Ikedia has been Roosendaal's livewire this term.

He has appeared 14 times for his new club, scored one goal and has been cautioned only once.

Vincent Enyeama (Enyimba, Nigeria): Eagles' second choice goalie in Korea/Japan 2002 World Cup, Enyeama's form has become suspect of late. Nigerian would still remember that his blunder led to Enyimba's 6-1 humiliation in Ismaila in one of the group games of the CAF Champions League. He however bounced back to help the Aba millionaires to the trophy.

Greg Etafia (Moroka Swallows, South Africa): Another surprise inclusion in the squad, Etafia has never proved to be a senior national team goalie. In Sydney at the Olympics, he was in goal for Nigeria and conceded four goals -two cheeky ones- in the 4-1 humiliation by Chile.

On current form he has been a revelation for Swallows in South Africa.

Austin Ejide (Etoile du Sahel, Tunisia): In goal for his Tunisia club when Julius Berger was humiliated 3-0 in the CAF Cup Winners Cup final second leg, Ejide has been playing second fiddle to Vincent Enyeama since both became Eagles goalies.

Ifeanyi Udeze (PAOK Salonica, Greece): After failing to impress in the English Premiership with then Premier League side, West Brom, Udeze returned to Greece, a less competitive league to become a one-eyed king. This time, the Nigerian left wingback, which made his Eagles debut in January 2001 in Lagos, has become a pillar of sort for PAOK.

Romanus Orjinta (Enyimba, Nigeria): Captain of reigning CAF Champions League side, Enyimba, Orjinta has paid his dues in the local league as a solid defender. What is left to be seen is how he will cope with the fast pace at international level.

Seyi Olofinjana (Brann Bergen, Norway): One of the most intelligent players in the squad, Seyi, a University of Ilorin graduate was his club, Brann's revelation in the concluded Norwegian season. Voted the best player in the club in only his debut season and scoring eight goals from his midfield position, Seyi looks more than capable to step into erstwhile Eagles skipper, Sunday Oliseh's shoes as Eagles defensive midfielder.






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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2004 11:53 am 
Impossible. Its either a typo or junk journalism. Maybe both.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2004 12:12 pm 
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errrrrrrrrrrr yes, why? :wink:

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2004 12:12 pm 
this is noy the right time to bring this controversia aguement. lets look on to the anc.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2004 12:56 pm 
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...Vindave - the guy was 19 a few YEARS AGO when he was still at Ismaili! ...before he went to Qatar....before he went to France.... and at WC 2002 - the guy had grey hairs at the front part of his hair.....hmm....
Anyway, I suspect that like Eagle Winged said, this IS a case of junk journalism.

anyway, I wish him the best of luck at ANC 2004....however old he is.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2004 1:22 pm 
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VINDAVE wrote:
this is noy the right time to bring this controversia aguement. lets look on to the anc.


So when exactly would be the "right time"?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2004 1:28 pm 
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27 wrote:
VINDAVE wrote:
this is noy the right time to bring this controversia aguement. lets look on to the anc.


So when exactly would be the "right time"?

When he becomes "tired legs".

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2004 1:32 pm 
It is just an error (perhaps a mischievious one). Utaka was born in 1982.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2004 1:35 pm 
wiseone wrote:
...Vindave - the guy was 19 a few YEARS AGO when he was still at Ismaili! ...before he went to Qatar....before he went to France.... and at WC 2002 - the guy had grey hairs at the front part of his hair.....hmm....
Anyway, I suspect that like Eagle Winged said, this IS a case of junk journalism.

anyway, I wish him the best of luck at ANC 2004....however old he is.


I suspected a typographical error here. but let still leave it for now.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2004 1:59 pm 
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His official birthdate... is 08/01/1982

This is the one registered at FIFA and the French FA.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2004 1:59 pm 
Na me born am!!


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2004 2:00 pm 
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27
If it will confer a particular benefit upon you to know the when Utaka was born, perhaps you should ask his parents when he was born. And if knowing or not knowing his age will not harm your interests or benefit you in any way, why bother to know?


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