The recent signing of Samuel Kalu by Watford FC has increased the number of Super Eagles of Nigeria players to six at Vicarage Road.
All eyes are now on Vicarage Road, home of the premier league side Watford, as the number of Super Eagles Of Nigeria players in the camp was recently increased with the signing of Samuel Kalu from the French Ligue 1 side Bordeaux.
This news, however, has elicited a mixed reaction from Nigerians, who are concerned about the availability of the players for future Super Eagles of Nigeria fixtures following the recent complications involving Emmanuel Dennis.
The signing of Samuel Kalu was reported by the sports journalist Fabrizio Romano on Wednesday, January 19, 2022, for a reported fee of five hundred thousand euros (€500,000).
The AFCON Controversy
The NFF chairman, Amaju Pinnick, revealed that the Watford forward, Emmanuel Dennis, had not been added to the initial 37-man provisional squad submitted by the team’s former coach, Gernot Rohr.
But the Watford front man was later added to a 40-man party in December 2021. Watford had stated that the deadline for submission of the list of players to the club sides had been missed and refused to release the Super Eagles forward.
This claim was further backed up by the Nigerian Football Association in an Instagram post that announced the 28-man list for the AFCON 2021 in Cameroon that commenced on the 9th of January 2022.
Although the Super Eagles captain, Troost Ekong, had been released by Watford for the tournament, Emmanuel Dennis’s case was one that raised major concerns as to how well football clubs respected African football.
The Bright Side
The English Premier League is viewed as the most competitive and demanding league in Europe. Having key players like the Super Eagles of Nigeria in this type of league can help build a stronger team that is able to compete in the World Cup in Qatar, which commences in November 2022.
Key players like Troost Ekong, Maduka Okoye, who is currently out on loan to Sparta Rotterdam and Emmanuel Dennis, who are very important to the Super Eagles of Nigeria, require such experience to play on the grandest stage of football, which is the World Cup.
The fact that Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi play for Leicester City is an advantage the Super Eagles of Nigeria are still enjoying till date. This is because both players understand one another and can easily dictate the flow of the game.
For other players like Samuel Kalu, Oghenekaro Etebo and Tom-Dele Bashiru, who are also out on loan at Reading, this can serve as an opportunity to impress and make their way into the Nigeria squad.
Watford took a chance on Emmanuel Dennis, signing him from his former club after he had only scored four goals in 24 games for Club Brugge.
Maduka Okoye can come in strong and displace the first-choice goalkeeper, Ben Foster, at Watford next season, which would be before the World Cup.
The newest addition to the team, Samuel Kalu, can push his way into an already struggling Watford side and impress the team.
It is impressive that English clubs are paying close attention to Nigerian footballers and are finally recognizing the talent they possess as players. We see this as a crucial point in Nigerian football and hope other premier league teams see how much the boys can add or offer their teams.