Renowned former Golden Eaglets and Flying Eagles head coach, Manu Garba, has expressed his belief that Ifeanyi Mathew could be the answer to the Super Eagles’ midfield problems.
Ever since the departure of former captain John Mikel Obi from international football, the Super Eagles have struggled to find the same level of creativity in the midfield.
Despite his outstanding performance at the club level, Mathew, a former Flying Eagles and home-based Super Eagles midfielder, has been consistently overlooked by national team selectors.
The 26-year-old has been in top form for Swiss club FC Zurich this season, with one goal and three assists in 15 league appearances in the Swiss Super League.
Garba, who has closely monitored Mathew’s career since discovering him in 2013, believes that the talented midfielder has what it takes to become a key player for the Super Eagles.
“I discovered Ifeanyi Mathew alongside Musa Muhammed in 2013 in Kano during my time as Golden Eaglet head coach,” Garba revealed
“Mathew was also instrumental in my team that won the U-20 AFCON in Senegal in 2015 and he was with us at the U-20 FIFA World Cup in New Zealand.”
“I have been monitoring his progress since he was in Sweden up till now that he is in Switzerland.”
“He is the most consistent Nigerian midfielder in Europe at the moment and for him to join the Super Eagles will be of great value addition to the team ahead of AFCON, especially in the midfield area where obviously the coach needs to work on going by the two games against Lesotho and Zimbabwe during the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.”
Garba highlighted Mathew’s vision and ability to connect with both the attack and defense, as well as his knack for scoring goals from long range, as some of his greatest qualities.
“If you go back and watch our 2015 U-20 campaign in Senegal, most of the goals we scored were created by him,” Garba added.
In addition to his international experience with the youth teams, Mathew was also a member of the home-based Super Eagles side that featured at the 2016 Africa Nations Championship under coach Sunday Oliseh.
With the Super Eagles in need of a midfield maestro to fill the void left by Mikel Obi, Garba’s endorsement of Mathew could be a game-changer for the national team.
As the Super Eagles prepare for the upcoming AFCON and other international competitions, the inclusion of Mathew could provide a much-needed boost to the midfield.
The Nigerian football community eagerly awaits the selectors’ response to Garba’s endorsement and whether Mathew will finally get the opportunity to showcase his talent on the international stage.