Thursday, July 11, 2013

Statistics on Nigerian Forwards and Comparing Goalkeepers.....

Nigeria’s failure to progress to the medal phase of the Confederations Cup in Brazil last month brought numerous calls for the return of forgotten national team players. As is always the case in Nigeria, there were calls for the return of Osaze Odemwingie, Obinna Nsofor, Obafemi Martins, Kalu Uche, among several other names that were put forward by critics. The surprise was no calls for the return of Augustine Okocha and Nwankwo Kanu! 

Jokes aside, there was a reason for criticism. After all, it was obvious that Nigeria struggled to score at the Confederations Cup with the likes of Brown Ideye, Ahmed Musa, Joseph Akpala, Anthony Ujah, and Mohammed Gambo missing several opportunities. The coach can claim that his key striker, Emmanuel Emenike, was out injured but he had the opportunity to recall those old names mentioned above or recall Obafemi Martins or Ikechukwu Uche whom he recently used in games or perhaps groom another capable replacement for Emenike.

In any case, could any of the proffered replacements have made a difference against the likes of Uruguay and Spain? Well, we have no crystal ball to provide any meaningful answer to that question. However, we can at least look at their statistics with the national team to make an informed guess. Below we put forward the goal scoring rate for each of the recommended replacements.

                        # Goals  -- Games -- Goals/Game
Osaze                 10 ---------58---------------0.17
Nsofor                12---------44----------------0.27
Martins              18---------41----------------0.44   
Ike Uche            18---------45----------------0.40                    
Kalu Uche           5----------34----------------0.15          
Akpala                1-----------9-----------------0.11               
Ideye                   3----------19----------------0.16                     
Musa                   5----------31----------------0.16                     
Emenike             5----------14----------------0.36                   

 Notice that most of the old strikers put up by critics have done very little for Nigeria in front of goal!Ah ha! The only two -- Martins and Ike Uche -- are not favored by Keshi who has actually tried both in games. However, few of those Keshi has relied on to complement Emenike have not done better either.

Comparing Enyeama to Ejide
Both Vincent Enyeama and Augustine Ejide came to the notice of Nigerians in 2002 when it became obvious that one of them would eventually replace the then Nigerian goalkeeper Ike Shorunmu.  Ofcourse, Ejide had debuted a year earlier against Namibia. Ofcourse, today, Shorunmu coaches both of them in the national team and has to make the decision on which one of them is Nigeria’s top goalkeeper. Obviously, Shorunmu has placed his confidence in Enyeama as has been the case after both Enyeama and Ejide began playing for the national team. It was only during the era of Coach Berti Vogts that Augustine Ejide was named the top goalkeeper. In reality, both goalkeepers are very good and it is difficult to claim that one is significantly better than the other. However, let us take a look at two statistics to learn about who has the better wins and losses and who has the better ratio on goals conceded. Just a note: While Enyeama's presence in goal has often mirrored a better result for Nigeria (see Efficiency scores), he has conceded more goals per game than Ejide and has kept less proportion of clean sheets in games played. The rest is up to you.

Ejide                 10----------12------------4--------------0.54        
Enyeama           45----------27-----------12-------------0.64    

                                            Clean sheets +
                       Number----% Games----Goals Conceded-----Conceded/Games          
Ejide                  14------------54%-----------15-----------------------0.58       
Enyeama            40------------48%-----------61----------------------0.72   

**To learn more about Nigerian soccer statistics checkout CHUKASTATS at books.