Dosu: Win or lose against Tunisia, Super Eagles are still on course
Former Super Eagles goalkeeper Joseph Dosu has said Tuesday’s international friendly game between Nigeria and Tunisia will not be a yardstick to judge the national team under Gernot Rohr.
The Atlanta ’96 Olympics hero insists friendly games are to help the manager test the suitability of certain players, not to measure the prowess of the team. He spoke to Sulaiman Alao in this exclusive interview…
The Super Eagles lost by a lone goal to Algeria in the first of the two friendlies at the weekend. What is your take on the game?
JOSEPH DOSU: First, it’s good to have the Super Eagles assemble again after about a year now. I think the last time we saw the national team in action was incidentally during a set of friendlies around this time last year.
I think the Eagles had a good game depending on what you are watching out for. For me, it was just a friendly game and the purpose is to identify some new players towards building some continuity in the squad.
Some new players were invited and some did well and some didn’t – it’s all about plus and minus. For now, we should not castigate any of those players because they have all been doing well for their clubs week in, week out.
So if they couldn’t make it in one game, that should not make them bad players because they still have another game to play. We should wait until after the second game before passing any judgement on the players.
Looking at that game, is it even right to expect the Eagles to win knowing that we are missing some regular players. Was it expecting too much?
Well, it depends on how the fans see it. Maybe they were expecting the Eagles to win and there is nothing really wrong in that.
But we also have too look at the circumstances surrounding the game as we didn’t have quite a number of our regular players for the game so I believe that was why the coaches invited many new players to see who among them that can fit into the main team.
Like I said earlier, it’s about plus and minus for the new players invited. It’s a situation whereby you do well, you stay and you don’t do well, you’re out of the team. But there is still another game to go to further assess the players and the team generally.
It will not be right to judge a player just by one game, they should get another opportunity. The result is not really important
The Eagles conceded an early goal which was the only goal of the game. Would you say it is a weakness on the part of the team?
I don’t think the goal was planned, even by the Algerians. It was a corner kick with the ball lobbed into the air, then it fell on the ground and everybody was like looking for the ball and it was the player that saw it first that just kicked it into the net.
You can’t really blame anybody because it was a goalmouth scramble and such things happen all the time, not only to the Eagles but to any team. Like I said, it was just a friendly match and either we concede early or concede late is not important.
What is important is who did well in the game – who can we keep and who can we say ‘please, thank you for coming.’
Let’s just look at the positive side that even though we lost the game 1-0, there are one or two players that can be recalled into the team in the future.
Talking about the players that did well or not, can you tell us the players that impressed you in the game?
DOSU: If I should start to mention names, I don’t know if it is the same names the coaches will pick. But I know that few of the players did well and some didn’t. It’s the coaches’ duty to identify who they want to bring into the main team later on.
And like I said earlier, you can’t judge the players by just one game. There is another game to be played and the players might get another chance to show what they can do.
As a former Super Eagles goalkeeper, are you impressed with the goalkeeping department that feature new hands especially with none of the regular goalkeepers around for the friendlies?
Yes. I’m quite happy that we have lots of goalkeepers we can now call upon to play for the Eagles at any time. There is a lot of competition in that department which is really good for the team.
The young keeper, Okoye Maduka who kept the goal did well on some few occasions during the game. You can’t blame him for the goal conceded. He was able to command the defence, he also did well cutting off the through passes across his goal, I think he did well generally and his grip was okay.
He was called into action about two or three times and he did well on those occasion. So Okoye for me, is okay and the guy is still very young at 23. And we still have the other keepers in camp – Dele Alampasu whom we know very well when he started out with the U-17 national team and the new one. I hope we can see them in action in the next game to be able to assess them too.
I think for the goalkeeping department, Nigerians can be happy that we now have good competition which is a very good development.
Going into the next game against Tunisia on Tuesday, what are you expecting and what area do you think the team need to improve upon?
I’m not really expecting anything much, like I said earlier, these are friendly games and even if we go ahead to beat Tunisia 10-zero, it doesn’t matter much.
The important thing is to try and identify some of the new players that can fit into the main team. For me, that should be the real essence of these friendly games especially as we don’t have the full compliment of the team on ground.
The friendlies provide a good opportunity for the coach to fortify his team with other players so that the Eagles have a very strong starting eleven as well as a very strong bench. That I want to think is what the coach is also looking out for.
There is an influx of new set of players now tagged the ‘foreign born’ in the Eagles. Will you say it is a good development?
Yes, it is a good development at the moment because our domestic league is not on. It was sad that the coaches can’t even invite one or two players from the local league because the league is not on.
So the only option left for the coaches is to look for the players who are out there in Europe that can be invited into the national team. And if the players that are born in Europe are available, why not? They are Nigerians too.
However, they should be invited – if they really want to play for us, not that we should be begging them to play for the country. If our league had been on, I believe some home-based players would have been in the team.
So I think it is a good opportunity for the country to explore the talents born abroad for the benefit of the team. After the friendlies, the coaches should be in a good position to know those they would retain in the team as we look forward to the Nations Cup qualifiers and others.