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The Big Game Is Here By Segun Odegbami

In continuation of my ‘greatest players’ series I shall be calling on 12 willing volunteer-respondents drawn from the football fraternity across the country, 2 from each of the 6 decades between 1960 and 2020 (6 in all) to imagine themselves as Coach of the Green/Super Eagles of that 60-year period, and ro select from amongst the players that they know represented the country at senior team level, a 16-member squad of international players that represent their choice of the ‘greatest national team (11 players and 5 substitutes) in the history of Nigerian Football since Independence in 1960’.

The Coach can pick a player for any particular position from any era within the 60 years period.

For example, he can pick Vincent Enyeamah as his goalkeeper, Silvanus Okpala as his right full back and Sylvester Egborge as his left full back, all from different football eras.

My intention is to attempt, as much as possible, to be fair to all the generations of footballers from 1960 to date.

Obviously, selecting the ‘greatest’ squad in Nigeria’s history places a burden of what generation the respondents are most familiar with, and would limit their choices. So, the older the respondent is the more the field of players he can choose from.

At the end of the day, I shall add up the choices, come up with some kind of aggregate of those players selected by most of the respondents, and arrive at a rough final squad comprising 16 players that would now become the ‘Greatest Squad in Nigeria’s Football History from 1960 to date’ selected by the 12 Wiseman.

If you think you deserve to be on my list of 12 Wisemen please send me a message and justify it. Otherwise, by Friday afternoon, I shall draw up my own list, publish it, and get the respondents to send me their selection of players with their positions.
It will also be interesting, but not compulsory, that the Coach states the system his team would play : – 4-4-2, 4-2-4, 4-3-3, 5-3-2, or whatever they can come up with, in this purely imaginary, and academic game.

A list of substitutes shall be sent and may also include (or not) the area (defense, attack, etc) or exact position (goal, striker) the coach intends to use them on the field.

So, each Coach will come up with his choice of 11 players, and 5 substitutes that will form his ‘Greatest Eagles in 60 years of Nigerian football’!

Note – the selection shall be limited to players that were ‘Green’ or ‘Super’ Eagles during the period.

I shall be contacting selected respondents on Friday afternoon. I shall publish their selection on the website on Saturday or Sunday.

So, the only thing I am waiting for now is justification from anyone intereated who wants to be one of the 12 Wisemen. It must be someone that knows Nigerian football ans footballers inside out.

I shall only respond if I agree and choose the person.
Segun Odegbami

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