With the just concluded CAF awards, iDONSABI takes a criticial look at the starting XI and why Wilfred Ndidi and Alex Iwobi are better fits for the team than Naby Keita.
Wilfred Ndidi is a defensive midfielder who plays for Premier league side, Leicester. Ndidi was signed to take up this position after the Foxes lost Ngolo Kante to Chelsea. Since then, he has been very impressive for the Foxes and instrumental to their position on the log in the last two years. The 21yr-old is now valued at €35m according to transfermarkt.
Why he deserves a spot over Keita
Although, Ndidi did not win any trophies for club side Leicester, he played 33 out of their 38 games last season. He has also played all available minutes for the Foxes this term. Consequently, he has been rewarded with a new contract which keeps him at the King Power Stadium till 2023. On the surface this doesn’t look like so much right? Here’s a look at who made it to the CAF XI instead-Keita
Keita doesn’t stand a chance in this team against Wilfred Ndidi. He has made only eight appearances for the reds this season and hasn’t come close to the heights he attained at RasenBallsport Leipzig. What’s baffling however is that his stats compared to Ndidi’s even at RasenBallsport Leipzig isn’t way above that of the Nigerian.
Ndidi has made more tackles this season, had more appearances (20), more blocks and more clearances. The 21 year-old has made the 4th-highest tackles in the Premier league this term (68), 8th-highest interceptions (42) and first ranked player in terms of recoveries (169). He is simply out-of-this-world.
Ndidi has been better defensively and even arguably better off this term. Despite all, the 22-year old can’t find his place in the team ahead of Naby Keita.
Could it mean that playing for a top club in Europe is all that is needed for a place in that team?
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The Nigerian has been impressive this term with two goals and 5 assists to his credit. He also has been very key to Emery’s team this season making good plays and delivering key passes.
Why he deserves a spot over Keita
Iwobi might not have been spectacular this season or last season. He’s best put an average player. Be that as it may he was a part of a Nigerian team who tipped Iceland over beating them 2-0. A Nigerian team who impressed at the recently concluded world cup. He was also a key member of the Nigerian team in the AFCON competition. Nonetheless, he couldn’t find a way through to CAF’s XI.
Last season, Naby was phenomenal for RasenBallsport Leipzig racking 6 goals and 5 assists. According to whoscored, he rated 1.4, 2.5 and 2.2 in key passes, dribbles and number of times fouled respectively. Notwithstanding, this was still comparable to Iwobi’s 3 goals and 5 assists with both of them rating the same in key passes.
Fast forward this season, Iwobi has netted 2 goals and racked up 4 assists while Keita has had none. According to whoscored, Iwobi has had more keypasses and dribbles this season. He has also made twelve appearances for Arsenal this term compared to Keita’s six even though they have both made only six starts for their clubs.
With all this stats in mind, it is hard to see how Keita deserves a spot in that team above an average Iwobi or a phenomenal Ndidi.
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