Tunisia ’94 African Cup of Nations winner, Edema Fuludu, has advised Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi, to avoid sentiments in team selection.
Keshi once again left out strikers Ike Uche and Obafemi Martins but gave first call-ups to relatively unknown players for the crucial 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Sudan in Khartoum and Abuja on October 11 and 15 respectively.
China-based Aaron Samuel, Hope Akpan (Reading), Anyora Ugonna (Haugesund) and Sunday Emmanuel, who spent the last three seasons playing in Vietnam before making a move to Austria this season, were all called up.
Eskisehirspor’s Raheem Lawal, who has not been playing regularly for his Turkish club made a return to the team alongside Victor Moses and Vincent Enyeama.
Fuludu, an ex-teammate of Keshi, said the coach should to follow in the footsteps of Clemens Westerhof – a former coach of the Eagles – in selecting players.
“Keshi has been so much vilified but at least these people are telling him the truth about making some decisions that are sentimental. I am not saying Uche is a messiah but I’m also not saying that Keshi should invite the player,” Fuludu said.
“But he can make up by bringing in players who are playing for their clubs and have the quality to deliver the goods.
“Keshi should borrow a leaf from Westerhof. The majority of the players Westerhof invited to the Eagles were playing first division football home or abroad.”
The former Turkey-based player hailed the return of Enyeama to the Eagles. However, he questioned the return of Stoke City forward Moses to the team.
He said, “I would say we need Vincent because he is our number one keeper and captain. But Moses is not the key. We need him (Keshi) to reorganise his midfield properly because that is the area that can propel the attackers to score goals.
“It’s not that he has a bad team but the team is not motivated right now. There is no desire and urge to win, maybe because they have played at the World Cup and they think that is the ultimate. For me, I believe Keshi should inject some sense of urgency into the players so that they will know that they are not indispensable.
“I am not saying Keshi doesn’t know what he is doing; maybe he is getting the wrong advice. There must be reasons for what he is doing. Even at the World Cup, people we didn’t expect in the team were there and they added no value to the quality of the team.”
He said giving Keshi a new contract might change the fortunes of the team for good.
He added, “Again, maybe all these things are happening because the coach doesn’t have a contract. They should motivate him by giving him a contract. It’s a big factor.”