Semi Ajayi, Chukwueze Receive Rave Reviews


Rave reviews are following Rotherham United of England defender, Semi Ajayi and Villarreal of Spain attacker, Samuel Chukwueze, following their brilliant personal efforts with the Super Eagles against Uganda, based on statistics gathered by

Chukwueze got his first ever senior cap for Nigeria, while Ajayi was on from the start for the first time in the Eagles’ fold, but both rookies showed enterprising form worthy of great expectations for the future.

Such it is that most post-match ratings placed Ajayi and Chukwueze tops of all others, despite the presence of older stars like Ahmed Musa, Alex Iwobi, John Ugochukwu Ogu and Oghenekaro Etebo joining them in the starting line-up, while the attacking trio of Isaac Success, Henry Onyekuru and Kelechi Iheanacho got off the bench late on.

In spite of what was largely dubbed an unexciting outing by the Eagles, in a goalless draw against one of their oldest boogie teams, top marks also went out for Jamilu Collins, Victor Osimhen, Daniel Akpeyi and Mikel Ndubuisi Agu, who all started the game at Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, while William Troost-Ekong, Samuel Kalu and Moses Simon were subs.

The full player-by-player ratings from Tuesday’s friendly go thus:
Daniel Akpeyi: Despite having been out of reckoning for a very long time in the Eagles’ mainframe, the Chippa United of South Africa goalkeeper did not show any nervous signs, but kept his composure all through. 5/10

Brian Idowu: The Lokomotiv Moscow defender played on the right side of the Eagles’ defence, which is his natural position, and appeared to fit in well with leadership qualities and great support down the flank. 6/10

Jamilu Collins: The SC Paderborn of Germany defender keeps showing every reason why he is the anointed new left back in the Super Eagles, and possibly a long term holder of that position. Good mobility, good overlapping runs, good coverage and defence. So calm and cool…. 6/10

Semi Ajayi: Man of the match for many pundits and fans, as he was solid in the heart of defence and made some timely interceptions inside the box; never shies away from a tackle and always decisive. 7/10

John Ugochukwu Ogu: Another reason why the Hapoel Be’er Sheva of Israel midfielder would always be relevant to the Eagles; what with his versatile abilties that once again saw him line out flawlessly in central defence and put a good shift under the fading light in Asaba. 6/10

Oghenekaro Etebo: Another quiet outing by the Stoke City midfielder, on home soil in the state of his origin, but what he could not do with skills and passes, he made up for with good use of his body and tackles. 5/10

Mikel Ndubuisi Agu: The Vitoria Setubal of Portugal midfielder might have finally put to rest doubts over his relevance in the Eagles, as he showed some battling efforts as a canon fodder in front of defence and was accurate with his passes, while his ball distribution was spot on. 6/10

Alex Iwobi: The Arsenal attacker-cum-midfielder keeps on defying logic about his true position, as his ploys on Tuesday suggested a player made for flexible roles and multiple duties, only that his passes and final ball looked suspect again, as it had been against South Africa. 5/10

Samuel Chukwueze: What a brilliant debut from the Villarreal of Spain kid, as he brought back memories of Nigeria’s traditional wingers and menacing runs down the right flank; so mobile, so fast, so skillful….. 7/10
Ahmed Musa: The Al-Nassr of Saudi Arabia attacker could have done better playing down the right flank, probably with a switch in role with natural left-footer Chukwueze, but the stand-in captain still showed his usual flashes and worked hard for the team. 6/10

Victor Osimhen: So painful that he could not convert his only big chance of the game, which would have made his first Super Eagles’ start very glorious, but he recovered to play a very composed game and his impact was palpable in the first 45 minutes; better days lie ahead of him. 5/10

William Troost-Ekong: The Udinese Italy defender went on for Etebo at the start of the second and fit in well alongside Ajayi, while Ogu moved further upfield, with extra depth by getting into the thick of things. 6/10

Isaac Success: The Watford of England all-action striker went on for Osimhen at the start of the second half, and quickly got down to fiery business up front, using his strength and speed determinedly. 5/10

Samuel Kalu: The Girondins-Bordeaux of France winger went on for his name sake, Samuel Chukwueze, just after half-time, then turned things around with up-tempo running and well delivered crosses. 5/10

Moses Simon: The Levante of Spain winger got off the bench to replace Ahmed Musa in the 68th minute and, though he had to play down the left flank, he still showed flashes of brilliance, only to later fade out. 4/10

Henry Onyekuru: On for Iwobi in the 75th minute minute, the Galatasaray of Turkey attacker surprisingly got lost in the thick of things and rarely had enough touches of the ball; but, arguably, 15 minutes could have been enough to make an impact, but he didn’t get much of play. 3/10

Kelechi Iheanacho: Fading days of Super Eagles’ glory continue for the Leicester City attacker, as he played only two minutes, on in place of John Ogu, but the former Manchester City whiz-kid needs more than that to reassert himself, as he barely touched ball before the final whistle. 1/10


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