6th June, 2012
Seven Nigeria Premier League (NPL) stars were in top form for the Super Eagles as Nigeria edged a determined Namibian side 1-0 to begin the race to the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Top NPL stars like Godfrey Oboabana (Sunshine Stars), Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves), Juwon Oshaniwa (Sharks), Reuben Gabriel (Kano Pillars) and Ejike Uzoenyi (Enugu Rangers) started the match, while Enyimba’s duo of Henry Uche and Uche Kalu came in as substitutes.
The NPL stars have featured prominently in friendly matches against Angola, Liberia, Egypt and Peru.
It was an improvement from the number that featured in the Afcon qualifier against Rwanda, where only Uzoenyi, Oboabana and Egwuekwe were in Keshi’s starting XI.
In the absence of skipper Joseph Yobo, in the central defence, Keshi paired the duo of Egwuekwe and Oboabana.
Sunday’s outing was another opportunity for Uzoenyi to prove that his previous outing for the Eagles was no fluke and he didn’t disappoint.
In recent matches, Uzoenyi has emerged as the best Eagle.
The Rangers’ winger punished his markers severally and simply wormed his way into the hearts of the partisan fans, who supported the Eagles in Calabar.
Uzoenyi’s performance is a clear manifestation of his form in the league for Enugu Rangers.
Sunshine Stars’ captain, Godfrey Oboabona, got the nod ahead of Free State Stars’ Gege Soriola to pair Egwuekwe in the heart of the defence.
Oboabona’s versatility comes as good news to Keshi and his backroom staff having played as a right full back during the Afcon qualifier against Rwanda in Kigali.
Combined well with Egwuekwe to provide a gift for Keshi who can go to sleep knowing that he has two great central defenders in the league.
Like Oboabana, Azubuike Egwuekwe has continued to prove that he can be the next “Gentle Giant” in the Eagles defence.
His combination with Oboabana will surely make Keshi a happy man.
Egwuekwe has continued to post impressive outings since his debut against Angola last year.