World Cup 2014: Echiejile Predicts Tough Battle For Final Selection
Super Eagles of Nigeria and AS Monaco of France left back, Elderson Echiejile, has predicted huge competition amongst invited players, when Nigeria’s Brazil
2014 build-up programme gets into top gear.
Echiejile, who is expected to be in the fray when Super Eagles file out against Scotland in an international friendly at Craven Cottage, Fulham on May 28, admitted that no one is
guaranteed a place yet in Nigeria’s World Cup team.
“We know how very important it is to don your country’s national team shirt, particularly in a World Cup year, so without mincing words I
think this is going to be one hell of a fight for shirts,” noted the former Sporting Braga defender who was also part of the Super Eagles team to South Africa 2010.
The former youth international, who has been a regular feature for the national team since Angola 2010 Africa Cup of Nations, said the
competition for places in the Brazil-bound squad will not be a child’s play as every player called up would aspire to be amongst the final
23 to represent Nigeria at the Mundial.
Echiejile has indeed been a vital part of Stephen Keshi’s Super Eagles following his appointment to the hot seat in 2012, and having featured in most of Keshi’s competitive assignments, the chances of the former Eaglet
losing his shirt appears slim.
On the possibility of Super Eagles Head Coach, Stephen Keshi recalling former regular left wing back Taye Taiwo to compete with him for that position, the 26-year-old said: “I respect Taiwo a lot, and frankly I have learnt a lot from him, and my holding the left back
position for years now is no guarantee that I am going to be picked,” he told a local radio
He remarked that current form will be the ultimate yardstick to determine who gets what at the end of preparations, though he doesn’t
see himself losing out of the equation.
“Surely everything will depend on current form, and at this moment I believe no one can be pushed aside, but at the end of the day it will
be left to the coach to decide who best fits into the position,” Echiejile said with an air of modesty.
Comparison between the two players have become inevitable in recent times, but any talks of Taiwo returning to reclaim the shirt has been waved off as the Edo-born player continues to impress for the national team, including scoring a goal at the 2013 Afcon tournament and at the FIFA Confederations
Cup in Brazil last year.
Echiejile, who previously played for Bendel Insurance of Benin, virtually took over the Super Eagles left back position after representing Nigeria at the 2007 FIFA Under20 World Cup in Canada, and made his senior
debut in 2009, but since joining Monaco this year appearances have been limited for Echiejile who has yet to tie down a regular shirt at the former French champions.
He came to limelight as a member of the Golden Eaglets squad that crashed out of the first round of the 2005 African Junior Championship in Gambia, and a few years later, made his international debut for Nigeria under erstwhile Super Eagles coach, Shaibu Amodu.
Echiejile’s journey to join the European train started when he teamed up with French Ligue1 side, Rennes in 2007 and moved to
Portugal to join Braga after three seasons.