Nigeria’s defensive duo Kenneth Omeruo and Elderson Echiejile should not start for the Super Eagles in their Russia 2018 World Cup Group B qualifier in Uyo on November 12, says Friday Elaho.
Turkey-based Omeruo has taken a lot of flak from football pundits and fans for conceding “a cheap goal” in the Eagles’ 2-1 defeat of Zambia’s Chipolopolo in their opening Russia 2018 Group B qualifier at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola, Zambia, on October 9.
Veteran Chipolopolo striker Collins Mbesuma and captain Rainford Kalaba took advantage of Monaco flop Echiejile’s lack of pace at the left-back to torment the Eagles’ defence, especially in the second half.
Although former Nigeria winger Elaho is happy the Eagles picked up maximum points on the road to lead the table on three points, he fears the defence could deny the team the chance to maintain their position at the top of the table. Cameroon, who held Algeria to a 1-1 draw in the group’s other fixture in Bilda, are second in the table. Algeria are third followed by Zambia in the last place.
Elaho insists Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr needs replacements for Alanyaspor’s Omeruo and Echiejile, who was shipped out on loan to Belgian outfit Standard Liege by Monaco during the summer transfer market after falling down the pecking order at the French club, in the game against Algeria.
“Algeria and Cameroon will be scared of the Eagles following our victory over Zambia,” the Algiers ’90 Africa Cup of Nations silver medallist told our correspondent on the telephone on Monday.
“But we must improve on our performance against Chipolopolo if we want to beat Algeria.
“Algeria have (Leicester City’s attacking duo) Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani, who are dangerous players. They have other experienced players.
“I’m really worried about our defence, which almost let us down against Chipolopolo.”
The Senegal ’92 Africa Cup of Nations bronze medallist added, “Omeruo and Echiejile didn’t play as professionals against Zambia.
“If we play them in our defence against Algeria, they (Desert Foxes) will bury us in Uyo. The Algerians are very fast and we need good defenders to stop them.
“However, the coach should invite them for the match if there is evidence they have improved.”
The former Brondby forward urged Rohr to leave players warming the bench at their clubs out of the squad to face Algeria.
Elaho said, “We should stop inviting players based on what they have achieved in the past. We should invite players on current form.
“We have many good young players in Europe and in the domestic league. they should be given a chance to play for the national team.”