17th February, 2012
Former Nigerian international, Dimeji Lawal, has faulted Super Eagles’ coach, Stephen Keshi, for recalling Yakubu Aiyegbeni to the national team.
Lawal said that there is no justification for Keshi, recalling the Blackburn Rovers striker ahead of the first leg away cracker of 2013 Africa Nations Cup qualifier against the Amavubi of Rwanda on 29 February.
“I don’t think it is necessary for Keshi to bring back Yakubu to the Eagles. Because the player is scoring for his club in England does not give Keshi enough ground to recall the player to the team,” said Lawal.
The former youth international opined that the coach should start to build a new national team for the country around younger players, hence the need to do away with the service of the likes of Yakubu.
“What I expect the coach to be doing at the moment is to start building a new team for the country. He has been featuring home-based players in his team and he can form a new team from them,” Lawal reasoned.
Contrarily, former Eagles’ assistant coach, Joe Erico, has described as healthy the recall of Yakubu and Sani Kaita to the senior national team.
Erico, who has openly canvassed for their recall to the Super Eagles, told SuperSport.com that as a nation, we should develop a large heart to tolerate and forgive eachother.
“It’s a welcome development to bring back the two players to the Super Eagles. I think we’ve been getting it wrong to condemn our players once they do things we perceive to be wrong. Yakubu and Kaita didn’t commit any offence to warrant the treatment we meted out to them.
“Missing a goal or picking a red card are no crimes in football. Drogba, Gyan, among others have missed crucial goals and penalties yet they continue to play for their countries. So I think it is a positive step both to the players and Nigeria,” Erico said.
However, the former Nigerian goalkeeper viewed the invitation of the 11 foreign-based players for Rwanda as improper.
“I don’t know who drew the list of 11 foreign-based players for the Rwanda game.
“If I were in coach Keshi’s shoes, those domestic players that played against Liberia would be called back to camp and handed shirts against Rwanda.
“I am sure, they won’t disappoint us against Rwanda. The pros are likely to send jitters down the spine of the domestic players.”