Sunday Aug 09, 2020. 14:00
Former Nigeria national team coach Christian Chukwu says that players in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) must not be overlooked by the Super Eagles, or they will continue to leave the country en masse.
Chukwu argues that most players who emerge in the NPFL take the first chance to leave the local league, believing that they need to be based overseas to get a shot at playing for the Super Eagles.
Current Nigeria manager Gernot Rohr has been repeatedly accused of ignoring locally-based players when making up his squads, and Chukwu’s words only add further weight to the debate.
“One of the things spoiling our league today is that you see a player in a league match today, and tomorrow, if he is called to play for a club in Afghanistan, where they are fighting war, he will go. He believes that if he doesn’t go, he may never have the chance to play for the Super Eagles,” Chukwu told The Guardian.
“I still believe we have very good players in the NPFL, if only the coach can live in Nigeria and start training with them. The positions he finds deficient, he can then invite the foreign-based players to fill such because this is how it was done in those days.”
He added, “A situation where you regulate the invitation of the NPFL players to the national camp, but invite the foreign-based players liberally, is discouraging. This definitely will make the league not go well and even the players back home not showing the confidence to play at home again.
“This is why some players will go to Benin Republic, Ghana and so on to also become foreign-based players. Though I see our current team as being very strong, it also has to be a mixture of the good ones from the domestic league.”