Saturday Sep 11, 2021. 14:00
Former Nigeria captain and coach Sunday Oliseh has insisted that the FIFA World Cup’s current four-year cycle makes it an exceptional competition for players.
This comes after FIFA revealed more details on Thursday about its intentions to hold a World Cup finals every two years with their chief of global football development Arsene Wenger being the driving force behind the plans.
However, Oliseh, who played for the Super Eagles at the 1994 and 1998 World Cup finals, is worried about how the changes would affect the prestige of the global tournament as many believe it is perpetuated by its relative rarity.
“Personally as a player, it would be interesting to say ‘OK, in a six-year period, I could play three World Cups’,” Oliseh told BBC World Service.
“But what actually makes the World Cup exceptional is the build-up to the event – the four-year wait and the fact that sometimes it’s a once-in-a-lifetime occasion for certain players.
“I can see why African football is happy with it because it goes with the Africa Cup of Nations which, every two years, helps us to sell ourselves,” he continued.
“We need it. We need funds coming in like the ones these major tournaments bring in – we need it from that point of view.”
FIFA’s proposals are expected to be opposed by UEFA, clubs, and players in Western Europe.
Oliseh, who played for Borussia Dortmund and Juventus FC in Western Europe, also stated that current players and coaches must be involved in any discussion about having the prestigious competition every two years.
“I don’t think we should be consulting mostly ex-players – we should be consulting the players now. The Mbappes, the Benzemas, you have to ask all those ones and they have to give their opinion. They are the actors now,” he added.
“To say ‘I played three World Cups’ would be great for some players, but let’s not forget that the actual employer of players are the clubs. No matter what happens with the national team, they are the ones who pay the wages.
“They are the ones giving the players the financial, psychological and health capability to be at their best to participate in major tournaments for their countries,” he explained.
“So now we are having this discussion, shouldn’t the club owners be consulted? Shouldn’t the club managers be consulted?”