Contrary to reports in various Nigerian football websites, the only player that received a debut invitation among the 25 players picked by Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr to prosecute Nigeria’s international friendlies this month, is Noah Joel Sarenren Bazee. The likes of Victor Osimhen, Tyrone Ebuehi, Chidozie Awaziem and Isaac Success have all been earlier invited by the Franco-German tactician, but were not capped eventually.
Hence, we will start our March Friendlies analysis by focusing on the statistics of the Germany-born player, and consider why he is expected to add some bite and provide options in the Super Eagles attack formation.
Noah qualifies to represent Nigeria by virtue of his father’s nationality. He was long rumored to have been courted by Gernot Rohr to switch his allegiance to his fatherland, and this first invitation confirms the story. The 20 year-old forward who is mainly a right winger, can also be deployed as a support striker or left winger. Noah currently plies his trade for Bundesliga II side, Hannover 96. One may be tempted to ask, why did Rohr invite a player who only plays for a second tier side, when we have other options in Olarenwaju Kayode, Henry Onyekuru, to mention a few, who play in the top flight and have been in top form? My answer comes in two reasons: One, we need to cap him early ahead of Germany, because his statistics show a lot of promise. Two, Noah posted promising stats with Hannover 96 before they were relegated in the Bundesliga 2015/2016 season . Here are the statistics:
Noah Joel Sarenren Bazee was only promoted from Hannover 96 U19 to the senior team at the later part of last season. He clocked a total of 383 minutes in his debut Bundesliga season, starting 5 times and providing 3 assists, the first coming against Borusia Monchengladbach in the 2-0 home win. Noah also provided the lone assist for Hannover’s consolation goal in their home loss to Shalke 04. He likewise provided the only assist for Hannover in their one-nil victory over TSG Hoffenheim, clocking 90 minutes on the pitch. Those were no mean feats for a promising 20 year old who had scored 16 times and provided 7 assists for the Hannover junior team. Both Onyekuru and Kayode are still yet to compete at that high level considering the relatively higher standard of the Bundesliga.
So far this season, since their relegation to the German second division, the right footed forward has been out due to injury for about half of the total number of rounds. After returning from injury, he has featured 11 times, starting 7 times from that total number of appearances. He has scored once and contributed a whopping 7 assists.
Most definitely, given more time on the pitch, the almost 6-foot tall player’s statistics signify he has the potential of doing more damages against opposing sides.
What will he bring to the national team?
A lot of support to the main striker (who is still yet to be determined). Should Rohr deploy Kelechi Iheanacho as the main striker, Iheanacho will likely form a good partnership with the Hannover 96 forward — of course depending on the formation the coach employs.
Who is/are his competition?
Ahmed Musa’s place in the team may come under threat should Bazee impress, since Leicester man have been deployed more as a right attacker by Rohr. Victor Moses is yet another player who have appeared for Nigeria in that position in the past, however, he seems to be the most indispensable player in the Super Eagles at the moment, going by his versatility and current form with EPL leaders, Chelsea. Kelechi Iheanacho also have been seen in the Super Eagles operating from that wing, but have been largely used as the main striker at club level.
Should Bazee fail to dislodge any of the familiar names in the national team, his invitation will definitely lay a good foundation for the player to be capped by Nigeria internationally in the nearest future — and that will indeed be our gain, in the expense of Germany, should he ever hit world class form.