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Much has been written about Nigeria’s failure to qualify for the 2022 World Cup, and many heads are still being scratched as to what exactly happened in qualifying.
Some of these questions have been answered with the sacking of Augustine Eguavoen and his coaching staff, and so the Nigerian Football Federation will now have to oversee a rebuilding operation that will bring in the right head coach.
Of course, the players must also bear some responsibility for Qatar’s failure to qualify, and no one has shouldered that burden more than captain William Troost-Ekong, who apologized for the dismal efforts of the Super Eagles.
The 28-year-old’s future in club football has come under intense scrutiny after it was reported that the Los Angeles Galaxy were interested in signing the defender from his current employer Watford to the side of the English Premier League.
Would it be a wise career choice for him? There are reviews of Major League Soccer (MLS), claiming it is shoddy or calling it a football retirement home for faded stars. But in Los Angeles, Troost-Ekong could join Mexico international Javier Hernandez and former Bayern Munich and Juventus striker Douglas Costa, to name a few.
It would therefore be wrong to suggest that his game would suffer, especially since so many of the national teams of the United States and Canada – who have both qualified for the World Cup – play their club football in MLS. Major betting sites, such as bet365, give the United States odds of 100/1 to win in Qatar, which is about the same as Switzerland, Senegal and Serbia. But these bookies also offer prizes on each team to qualify in their group, and they believe that the United States is an equal shot to get out of Group B.
Once the Premier League season is over, Troost-Ekong will have to decide his future: will he stay at Watford, who are at risk of relegation from the Premier League, or will he pack his bags and try- his chance in America?
If he opts for the latter, don’t rule out the Super Eagles captain – the level of play in MLS is improving with each passing year.
Out of the hornet’s nest?
Troost-Ekong is just one of three Nigerians to ply their trade at Watford, with Peter Etebo and Emmanuel Dennis also flying the Super Eagles flag with the Hornets.
Like their international captain, both will have big decisions to make if/when Watford are relegated to the Championship, and in the case of Dennis in particular, you suspect there will be plenty of interest in his signing.
The 24-year-old has registered ten goals and five assists in 30 Premier League appearances so far this season, and that’s a considerable effort given how hard the Hornets have struggled.
Moreover, he achieved these attacking feats despite having two defensive-minded managers in the starting XI – first Claudio Ranieri and then Roy Hodgson when the former was sacked in January.
– DENNIS BLESSED (@dennisblessed42) March 28, 2022
Dennis, who was born in Yola and played his youth football at Kwara Football Academy in Kwara State, would be one of Watford’s most salable assets should they decide to balance the books after relegation – he It has been reported that the club could be up to £139m in debt, a situation exacerbated by the demotion to the second tier.
The striker only cost the Hornets around £3.5million when he joined Club Brugge in the summer of 2021. Dennis had already scored Champions League goals against Real Madrid, he therefore clearly has the ability to play at the highest level of football.
But current club Watford are unlikely to be able to offer him that chance in the 2022/23 season, so is a departure now a formality?
A move to a higher quality team could not only improve the 24-year-old’s game but also help Nigeria in the future, and as the Super Eagles look to begin their rebuild, it’s Dennis they could look to. and should perhaps use as a pivot for the next generation.