In just over a week’s time, the greatest continental football show piece in Africa, the African Nations Cup, will commence in South Africa. The south Africans claim that they are ready to receive the whole of Africa and there is no reason to disbelieve them because in 2010 they hosted the whole world and the World Cup was arguably the best ever, with little or no incident.

Millions of football loving? Africans are guaranteed good football. There will be a mix of home and foreign based players with the likes of Didier Drogba, John Obi Mikel and lately, Emmanuel Adebayor, gearing up to go into battle in honour of their respective countries.

Back home in Nigeria, most people are in the dark on how far Stephen Keshi’s ever improving Super Eagles will go. Fewer still will stick out their necks to predict on the immediate future of the team but LEADERSHIP SPORTS was able to compel two sports personalities two outline their preferred first eleven for the Eagles. The first, Austel Elumelu, eminent sports administrator and member, technical sub- committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), was brave enough to choose the following players:

Elumelu’s Eagles
1 Vincent Enyeama
2 Efe Ambrose
3 Elderson Echiejile
4 Mikel Obi
5 Joseph Yobo
6 Kenneth Omeruo
7 Ahmed Musa
8 Onazi Ogenyi
9 Emmanuel Emenike
10 Fegor Ogude
11 Victor Moses

The second person, well known sports journalist, formerly of the sports desk of the Guardian, who just released his book on the exploits of the National U23 dream team of 1996, Clement Nwankpa Jnr, deviated a little from Elumelu’s list. The following are his preferred players:

Nwankpa’s Eagles
1 Vincent Enyeama
2 Godfrey Oboabona
3 Elderson Echiejile
4 Mikel Obi
5 Joseph Yobo
6 Azubuike Egwuekwe
7 Fegor Ogude
8 Victor Moses
9Emmanuel Emenike
10 Nosa Igiebor
11 Ahmed Musa

Most of the players mentioned by these personalities will have a part to play in the tournament at one point or the other. It is left to be seen if they will seize their chances and become eternal heroes back home or slip into the ignominy of oblivion.

The Official list:
Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama (Maccabi Tel Aviv, Israel); Austin Ejide (Hapoel Be’er Sheba, Israel); Chigozie Agbim (Enugu Rangers)

Defenders : Elderson Echiejile (FC Braga, Portugal); Juwon Oshaniwa (Ashdod FC, Israel); Joseph Yobo (Fenerbahce, Turkey); Efe Ambrose (Celtic, Scotland); Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves); Kenneth Omeruo (ADO Den Haag, Netherlands); Godfrey Oboabona (Sunshine Stars)

Midfielders: John Mikel Obi (Chelsea, England); Nosa Igiebor (Real Betis, Spain); Ogenyi Onazi (Lazio, Italy); Obiora Nwankwo (Calcio Padova, Italy); Fegor Ogude (Valerenga FC, Norway); Reuben Gabriel (Kano Pillars)

Strikers: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Emmanuel Emenike (Spartak Moscow, Russia); Brown Ideye (Dynamo Kyiv, Ukraine); Victor Moses (Chelsea, England); Ikechukwu Uche (Villarreal FC, Spain); Ejike Uzoenyi (Enugu Rangers); Sunday Mba (Enugu Rangers)