posted by www.equatorialguineaonline.com
With less than five days to the decisive African Cup of Nations qualifier between Nigeria’s Super Eagles and the Syli Stars of Guinea, West Btom Coach, Roy Hodgson has admitted that he was troubled by the early season poor form of Osaze Odemwingie, who is set to lead Eagles attack this Saturday at the Abuja National Stadium
Nigeria need to beat Guinea with a clear two goals margin to guarantee their place at the tournament to be jointly hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. And to do that, Coach Samson Siasia, who has already lost Voctor Anichebe to injury, will need all the experience of Osaze in front of goal.
Last season, the Nigerian emerged the revelation of the year, after moving from Lokomotiv Moscow, , scoring 15 goals as West Brom finished 11th on the table. He also played a vital role in Nigeria’s run at the 2010 Nations Cup and World Cup in South Africa.
But his form so far this year, has been less than inspiring, and Hodgson is of the view that Osaze may be suffering from ‘second-season syndrome’.
“There’s a second-season syndrome for clubs and players. It’s a very valid observation that syndrome exists. If a player does really well he suddenly becomes a marked man. When Blackpool started last year, Charlie Adam and David Vaughan were not players people were talking about but then it was all about, ‘Can we stop Adam? Can we stop Vaughan?’.
“Peter Odemwingie has got to come to terms with that, which won’t be a problem. He’s experienced and has played in Russia and France and played many games for Nigeria. But he’s got to realise it’s not going to be easy for him this year, so he’s got to work harder for his goals”, added Hodgson, who watched as Osaze failed to score again in yesterday’s 2-1 draw against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
Coach Siasia will be hoping that Osaze can overcome his poor form to strike in the goals when Eagles confront Guinea this Saturday in Abuja.