2023 AFCONQ : Why Fenerbahce's new Super Eagles star should have nod over regulars at RBPublished: March 12, 2023
The battle for a starting place in the Super Eagles right back position in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Guinea-Bissau is expected to be a difficult one.
Unlike the left back role, there are certainly more than two options at the moment who are consistent, as is the case with Zaidu Sanusi and Calvin Bassey, in contention for the number 3 jersey.
When the three-time African champions played their last international game in 2022, the friendly against Portugal which they lost by 4-0, Bright Osayi-Samuel was saddled with the task of playing at right back.
Aside Osayi-Samuel, Super Eagles head coach, Jose Peseiro can call upon other options like Tyronne Ebuehi, Chidozie Awaziem and Ola Aina.
Looking at the chances of the trio, Fenerbahce's Osayi-Samuel could get the nod over Aina and Ebuehi. And that is somewhat odd.
Nigerian football teams seem to reward players who have spent longer time in the setup or even older.
Osayi-Samuel has played 30 matches since the start of the 2022/2023 season in all competitions including the aforementioned international friendly against Portugal on 17th November, 2022.
Ola Aina on his part, has played 17 matches this season in all competitions for Torino including a game for Nigeria while Empoli's Ebuehi has 15 Serie A matches with a goal to boot.
It is clear that Osayi-Samuel has played the most matches in the last eight months among the trio and the last international game for the country.
Aina is only on the mend from an injury spell. Ebuehi's health record isn't also so perfect and there is still an issue of whether he is a good fit for matches against physical, African teams.
Former first choice at right back, Shehu Abdullahi has not been stable enough in his club career. He has also been said to have a few personal issues to deal with in the last few years.
Instructively, HNK Hajduk Split defender, Chidozie Awaziem might be deployed in that role due to his versatility.
All Nigeria Soccer's verdict: Osayi-Samuel should take the starting role against Guinea-Bissau with Chidozie Awaziem the next alternative to him.
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