Beck­on­ing on Rohr for Call-up

With 10 goals across all com­pe­ti­tions for his Swiss club -FC Zurich, for­mer Nige­ria Pro­fes­sional Foot­ball League top scorer- Stephen Odey seems to be an­nounc­ing him­self to Su­per Ea­gles Man­ager, Ger­not Rohr for a na­tional team call-up


Stephen Odey took his goal tally for the sea­son to 10 goals across all com­pe­ti­tions as FC Zürich claimed a 2-0 win against Grasshop­per in the Swiss Su­per League last Sun­day. Zürich dom­i­nated the game and had 24 shots on tar­get, one of which was the 84th-minute goal net­ted by the for­mer Moun­tain of Fire striker .

The 20-year-old has reg­is­tered his name on the score­sheet in the three com­pe­ti­tions he has played for FC Zürich this term, in­clud­ing the Su­per League, Swiss Cup and Europa League.

Odey has tal­lied six goals in the Swiss top flight, one in the Europa League against Bayer Lev­erkusen and three in the Cup.

Since his trans­fer to Switzer­land in Oc­to­ber 2017, Su­per Ea­gles man­ager Ger­not Rohr has not looked at his di­rec­tion for an in­vi­ta­tion to the na­tional team.

With their win in the derby, FC Zürich climbed to third place in the stand­ings.

In a chat with for­mer Nige­rian in­ter­na­tional Waidi Akani, he is of the opin­ion that if he keeps on scor­ing for his club there is no way the Su­per Ea­gles coaches would not look at his di­rec­tion soon.

“With the Nige­ria Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion plan­ning se­ries of friendly matches for the se­nior na­tional team in prepa­ra­tion for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in a yet to be named venue, if Odey con­tin­ues with the rate he is go­ing he might prob­a­bly get a look at for one of one of the friendly matches ahead of the 2019 AF­CON.

“Even if he does not make it to the AF­CON, an in­vi­ta­tion would be a boost to his morale. He is still very young with sev­eral in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions ahead of him.

“Brazil does it very well, any­time their young play­ers are do­ing very well, he gets an in­vi­ta­tion to the na­tional team for friendly matches just to boost his morale and I think we should be toe­ing the line too,” the for­mer Su­per Ea­gles de­fen­sive mid­fielder said.

Con­tin­u­ing, Akani said, “Odey has al­ways been a hard-work­ing foot­baller, we all saw what he did while he was with MFM FC while still play­ing in the lo­cal league. If not for his move to Switzer­land he would have prob­a­bly fin­ished as the sea­son’s high­est goal scorer.”

Ev­ery sea­son, the Nige­rian Pro­fes- sional Foot­ball League (NPFL) pitches a new star and in 2017, Odey of MFM FC was the star man.

His strik­ing form left op­pos­ing teams in tears and sor­row, and placed MFM FC as a ma­jor con­tender for the league ti­tle and even­tu­ally earned them a con­ti­nen­tal ticket in 2018.

The sud­den resur­gence of the club ap­pears to be tied to the mag­i­cal boots of Odey whose goal count hits 18. This striker did not just drop from the moon; he is a prod­uct of the GTBank Prin­ci­pals Cup, a grass root foot­ball de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme of Guar­anty Trust Bank.

Odey played in the sec­ond edi­tion of GTBank-La­gos State Prin­ci­pals Cup where he was the cap­tain of the win­ning Dairy Farm Se­nior Sec­ondary School, Agege. He also topped the list of the GTBank 13-man All Star Team of the Year. It is, there­fore, no sur­prise that the lit­tle mus­tard seed is fast grow­ing into an oak.

In Jan­uary 2017, Odey re­ceived the NPFL Blog­gers’ Award as the most valu­able player of the month. And in the 2017 sea­son, he was the first player to score a hat trick among over 200 play­ers in the league.

His ex­ploit led to his in­vi­ta­tion to the Su­per Ea­gles CHAN Team dou­ble­header qual­i­fiers against Benin Repub­lic in Au­gust in 2017.

His im­pres­sive per­for­mance led to his sign­ing a four-year con­tract with Swiss club-FC Zurich.

Odey joined FC Zurich last year on a four-year deal and will earn an $8,000 a month at the club, thereby be­com­ing the third Nige­rian player to rep­re­sent the club af­ter the late Rashidi Yekini and Ike Sho­runmu.

Ini­tially, the for­mer MFM star strug­gled for game time at Let­zi­grund dur­ing his de­but sea­son, of­ten mak­ing cameos, scor­ing three goals in 19 com­pet­i­tive ap­pear­ances, play­ing a to­tal of 581 min­utes.

How­ever, for the cur­rent cam­paign, Odey has seen his stock rise as he is now the fo­cal point of the Zurich front­line, a re­sult which has seen him net 10 goals in 19 ap­pear­ances in all com­pe­ti­tions, spend­ing 1,494 min­utes so far on the pitch.

Odey’s only in­volve­ment with the Su­per Ea­gles to date came in a friendly with Cor­sica last year where he fea­tured along­side his for­mer MFM team­mate Sikiru Olatun­bo­sun.

He has also been in­volved with the B Team, play­ing in the 2018 Africa Nations Cham­pi­onship qual­i­fiers.

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