Hat-trick hero Chisom Chikatara, midfielder Usman Mohammed and defender Orji Kalu have pushed for starting shirts with Nigeria’s Super Eagles at the CHAN on the strength of their displays against Niger, officials have disclosed.
Chikatara came off the bench in the 58th minute to replace the hugely ineffective Tunde Adeniji and he showed his class with three well-taken goals and could even have scored more against Mena.
He has done more than enough to lead the Eagles strike force against Tunisia on Friday afternoon.
Usman Mohammed did more in the 20 minutes he was on the pitch than the older and more experienced Bartholomew ‘Mosquito’ Ibenegbu produced in 70 minutes.
“‘Mosquito’ was far apart from the two defensive midfielders, Paul Onobi and Ifeanyi Matthew. He could not thread a through pass to the attack, he did not follow the tactical instructions,” said one official. Jamiu Alimi was outstanding in the team’s training camp in South Africa, but he was a nervous wreck in the heart of the defence against Niger on Monday so much so that he bagged a booking after a late reaction and he was promptly hauled off after just 16 minutes.
And his replacement Orji Kalu came in to post a solid display in central defence, a position he plays for his club Enugu Rangers, even though the Eagles have used him in right back.
With the return from suspension of Austin Obaroakpo, it is left to be seen whether coach Sunday Oliseh will stick with the new central defence pairing of Kalu and Stephen Eze or get Obaroakpo back in the deep end right away against Tunisia on Friday.