Wednesday Apr 06, 2022. 10:00
Former Nigerian international Bright Omokaro has blamed the Super Eagles’ failure to qualify for the 2022 World Cup on a reliance on foreign-based players.
Omokaro, who notably represented Nigeria in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, believes that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) gives preferential treatment to players who are either foreign-born or based overseas, compared to the local talent in the NPFL (Nigeria Professional Football League).
He would like to see NFF president Amaju Pinnick make a similar declaration to Cameroon legend Samuel Eto’o, who has become his country’s FA president and is pushing for a greater inclusion of home-based players in the Indomitable Lions.
“In the past, a player can’t get an automatic shirt in the Eagles… he has to fight for it with other players in his position,” said Omokaro, as quoted by The Guardian.
“But now, the NFF does not pay attention to the NPFL and grassroots football anymore to discover talents. How will the Super Eagles develop with this nonchalant attitude?
“Samuel Eto’o’s position on grassroots football development is a pointer that he knows the importance of grassroots football growth.
“Pinnick does not understand this because he does not know anything about football. Failure to qualify for the World Cup has exposed the maladministration of the nation’s football.
“Retired internationals like me were discovered in Nigeria and I wonder why the NFF keeps neglecting the domestic scene, which used to be the foundation of the Super Eagles in the past.”
Nigeria were narrowly eliminated from World Cup qualifying after their playoff tie with arch rivals Ghana ended 1-1 on aggregate, with the Black Stars advancing on the away goals rule.