By Olayinka Elebute
Former Super Eagles and Racing de Santander of Spain superstar, Mutiu Adepoju has sensationally declared that the trio of Victor Osimhen of Serie A club Napoli, Premier League club Leicester City midfield star, Wilfred Ndidi and La Liga’s Villarreal CF star winger Samuel Chukwueze must be on the plane to Cameroon, if the Nigerian Super Eagles must succeed at the next Africa Cup of Nations, taking place in Cameroon next year.
The former midfield dazzler who was a special guest at the Ex-University of Ibadan Footballers’ Association’s interactive monthly program – Guest of the Month, declared unequivocally when asked which players would be key to the success of the Eagles at the next AFCON, ‘Players like Osimhen, Ndidi and Chukwueze are going to be key to the success of the team at the next AFCON’, he said. Although we have many good players at the moment but these players will be key to the success of the team.
Speaking further during the program, Adepoju also passed a vote of confidence on the Super Eagles’ 67- year old gaffer Gernot Rohr, who is under fire due to a string of below par results by the Eagles in recent times. “Well, I think it’s always like that, when you are a coach of Nigeria and things are not going well, questions would be asked definitely. I believe Gernot Rhor is a good coach and it is possible for him to win the AFCON. However, everybody must come together and there has to be teamwork and believe that they can win the AFCON”.
Mutiu Adepoju, popularly called the Headmaster by fans due to his supreme ability to score with the head, appeared for Nigeria in three World Cups and three Africa Cup of Nations, over a 12-year period and was full of gratitude to God that he was able to fulfill his childhood dream of playing for Nigeria. According to him, “ I don’t have any regrets playing for the Super Eagles. Rather it was what I prayed for when I was young and wished for, to be able to represent Nigeria and play to the highest level at the World Cup. I did that. We qualified Nigeria for the world cup for the first time in 1994, then went to the 1998 and 2002 World Cups which makes it three World Cups in a row. Very few players have that privilege. I also played at 3 Nations Cups which could actually have been 5 or 6 but for the withdrawal from the 1996 tournament and subsequent suspension from the 1998 competition. I don’t have any regrets; I rather thank God for making me realize my dreams’, he concluded.
The Super Eagles bungled the chance to qualify early for the Africa Cup of Nations during the last round of qualifier matches, after surprisingly throwing away a 4-goal lead to draw 4-4 against Sierra Leone at home last November.
Super Eagles will play their penultimate match against the Squirrels of Benin in Port Norvo on March 27th before taking on the Crocodiles of Lesotho in Group L’s last game at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, on Tuesday, March 30th, 2021. Should the three-time African kings qualify for Cameroon 2022, it will be Nigeria’s 19th appearance at the finals since their debut in Ghana 1963.