The game between Nigeria and Senegal at The Hive in London last week may just have been an international friendly but it was also a valuable opportunity for Gernot Rohr to introduce two strikers to the squad, with Isaac Success and Olarenwaju Kayode both making their international bows.
Success, who plies his trade for Premier League outfit Watford, came on for Moses Simon in the 61st minute, while Kayode replaced Ahmed Musa with 14 minutes left to play. Success was the livelier of the two, as he used his pace to cause all sort of problems for the Senegalese backline.
He was a handful for the Lions of Teranga due to his energy, resilience and strength.
Success did create a chance for Kayode, but the Austria Vienna man was offside, while the latter also had a golden chance for the winner just before stoppage time but headed wide from Kelechi Iheanacho’s free kick.
Success and Kayode might just have played for 29 and 14 minutes respectively, but it was a good debut for both men. The former has been used sparingly for Watford this season, making just 14 appearances and scoring one goal.
He has only made the starting lineup once, which came in a 1-0 win at Middlesbrough last October, while injury has curtailed the 21-year old's season, making him miss Watford’s matchday squad on 12 occasions.
Consistent fitness problems have also hindered the former Granada man from making his international debut for some time, and while the Hornets have every reason to be concerned about their hefty outlay, the flashes of brilliance he showed at The Hive indicate that his internaitonal future is bright.
Hornets boss Walter Mazzarri can also have assurance that the club record signing can take the Hertfordshire outfit forward if his fitness problems stop getting the better of him.
Kayode wasn’t as lively as Success, but having seen two chances go begging, it was assuring that he was well positioned to put the ball in the back of the net, and this is something that will surely only improve with time. Thanks to his goalscoring exploits with Austria Vienna, where he has netted 16 times in 38 games this season, there is relief that Rohr finally gave the former ASEC Mimosas man his first international cap.
The Austria-based attacker's emergence-along with that of Success-surely places pressure on China-based duo Odion Ighalo and Ideye Brown, both of whom missed out on the squad against the Lions of Teranga.
The German tactician had been previously criticised for not calling up Kayode, but with the 23-year-old only making the squad because Victor Osimen missed out through injury, Rohr might want to consider giving Kayode more opportunities in future, especially with a tough World Cup qualifying group consisting of Cameroon, Algeria and Zambia to navigate through.