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Qatar 2022: Luis Enrique the Spanish Governor and his midfielders of happiness.

Luis Enrique, the two-time Spanish national team manager, seems to have borrowed a leaf from the book of Rochas Okorocha

Luis Enrique, the two-time Spanish national team manager, seems to have borrowed a leaf from the book of Rochas Okorocha

In December 2017, Rochas Okorocha the then governor of Imo state announced his sister Mrs Ogechi Ololo as the Minister of happiness and purpose fulfilment, in a move that cannot be said to be unprecedented in the Nigerian political landscape, but one that does not carry the usual guile and finesse of past nepotic practices, it was blatant.

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Luis Enrique, the two-time Spanish national team manager, seems to have borrowed a leaf from the book of Rochas Okorocha, the two-time governor of Imo state, in his handling of the Spanish national team and squad selection practices.

Spain were knocked out by Morocco on penalty shoot outs in a game where they, as usual, had the bulk of possession but lacked cutting edge in front of goal.

A problem they carried on from the European championships where they only won one game in regular time, and played in a way that looked like they were trying to pass teams to death. They, as in that tournament, only won one game, the first one against Costa Rica, failed to beat a struggling Germany side and lost against Japan in a game where they failed to even threaten to be dangerous.

All conversations be it praise or condemnations borders around the blatantly nepotic, tunnel visioned and aggressively ageist squad selection of Luis Enrique.

Spain started the Barcelona trio of ageing Busquets, Pedri and a Gavi that does not offer a lot on the ball in all 4 games they played in the tournament.

Busquets inclusion in the team is somewhat ironic, guys like Thiago, Ramos and Aspas miss out because apparently 'they are old and Luis Enrique is going a new, younger direction with the team.'

Pedri was used by Enrique in a deeper role with box to box responsibilities that is much better occupied by Mikel Merino who has arguably been the best Central midfielder in La Liga for the past two seasons.

Gavi is the most dumbfounding of the trio, he is only 17, and is already an undisputed starter for the national team, the golden boy winner is talented no doubt, but it has become very apparent he over compensates for his inability to offer telling quality on the ball for overcharged aggression. To put into context, Pedri, his midfield colleague, had 133 passes against Morocco, and Gavi had 17, take a moment to think about it. To be fair, Pedri played almost double the minutes he played, but even after doubling the passes for Gavi in a hypothetical, it still falls way off the mark.

He is the most advanced midfielder in Spain's central triumvirate, and managed to create zero big chances, have zero assists, and could only manage 0.3 key passes per game in four games. When you remember the best Spanish attacking midfielder Sergio Canales missed out of the squad, it is not only inexplicable, it lends strong credence to a pattern that is since clear on how Luis Enrique regime disregards metrics of merit used by his peers and picks players based on affiliation and how football happens in his head.

Luis Enrique also decided to start Marco Asensio as the central attacker in three of the four games they played, while leaving Morata on the bench and more importantly leaving, Borja Iglesias- who is the top scoring Spanish striker in Laliga this season with 8 goals in 13 games, Iago Aspas who has arguably been the best Spanish attacker of recent years and Joselu who has been a constant goal getter for the past 2 seasons, and is also on form out of his 26-man squad.

The inclusion of any of these guys does not disrupt his present system, rather it gives it variety and the directness it lacks.

Luis Enrique would once again face the full brunt of the Spanish media who are not Catalan affiliated, for fairly obvious reasons, and rightly so, the security of his job is very much in question.

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