The former Technical Adviser of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA), Tunde Disu OFR, has said that the decision of Super Eagles Striker, Odion Ighalo to retire was premature.
Disu gave his opinion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday while commenting on the on the decision of the Eagles first choice striker.
NAN reports that Ighalo, who emerged as the highest goal scorer in the just-concluded Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt announced his decision to quit the Super Eagles after the competition.
Disu, said that Ighalo could still rescind his decision to quit the national team, adding that the team had a lot to learn from him as a senior colleague.
“The decision of Ighalo to quit the national team is premature, the team still needs him and he cannot afford to quit now.
“My reason is based on no other assumption other than the fact that the team at present did not have any standby player, with experience to take over.
“He is leaving without any replacement that is experienced enough, the players in the team now have yet to get the required playing time to step into his shoes.
“My position is not that the country did not have quality strikers, no, but other strikers should have been paired alongside him to learn,” he said.
Disu said that the decision of the striker to quit should be a concern because he was the only tested striker among his peers, noting that he should have been played alongside other strikers.
“Ighalo’s decision to quit should give the technical crew a concern because I have been in that position before. There is a need to get this right.
“Ighalo has yet to play alongside other players, maybe play as a main striker with others as supporting strikers behind him.
“Sometimes as well, we need to tweak our formation to test new players, mainly during friendly games to give a deserving view of the whole team.
“Ighalo really tried for the team and if he is considering the negative vibes from football fans, maybe that is a bit childish, he should have developed thick skin to that.
“Criticisms are part of life, we cannot run away from it, even the best footballers of this world had faced the same situation one time or the other, he cannot be an exception,” he said.
Disu also advised the Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, to allow the players to play their natural position instead of converting them to positions that cannot allow them to realise their full potential.
“I think Rohr should allow the players into their natural position instead of converting them out of position; this is not helpful.
“I noticed that most of the players in the national team are being played out of position, Mikel Obi from defensive midfielder to attacking.
“Also, Oghenekaro Etebo from assistant striker to a defensive midfielder, same goes for Iwobi who has never played as a playmaker in Arsenal to playmaker in the Super Eagles.
“To get the best from these players they should not be played out of their natural positions they are playing in their clubs because they must have mastered the play more than what they are doing now,” he said.
Disu said that the decision of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to send Rohr on a refresher course was right, adding that same gesture should have been extended to his assistants as well.
“The decision of NFF, to sponsor Rohr to a refresher course is a right step in the right direction, he has a contract and he has done his best for the team.
“What NFF should have considered is to extend same gesture to Rohr’s assistants like Imama Amamakpabo and other technical crew members.
“Even, there are some refresher courses that are free; NFF can afford to send the technical crew to such refresher courses in other to upgrade their knowledge.
“Its high time we trust our own indigenous coaches to take over the realms of affairs of the national team.
“We have been relatively successful with coaches like Stephen Keshi who won the AFCON for us and also Shuabu Amodu who are both late now. We can also support our own as well,” he said.