Ex-international and Maradona of Nigerian football, Etim Esin has called on the federal government to make the invitation of best legs from the Nigeria Professional Football League into the national teams.
This follows the recent woeful performance of Nigerian players based abroad especially in the men’s national football team by coach Gernot Rohr. Rohr has adopted the practice for over two years now without any success in terms of team development and limited level of wins by team the team.
As against the earlier norm of having a local stars forming part of national teams with foreign based players, the country has suffered in the hands of average players based abroad.
Rohr’s verdict that local players are not good enough for the national team has sparked wider criticism as better ones are still found in the local league.
It had been a policy that past coaches made use of local players who brought glory to the nation. The NFF in their recent reaction to the woes of the national team has ordered Rohr to begin the inclusion of local players who have distinguished themselves at home in the team. Meanwhile, Rohr’s choice of mainly foreign based players is owing to his refusal to watch local matches.
Etim Esin therefore has lauded NFF for its new policy of partial localization of the national team as this would help in returning the national team to its former level while frowning at the woeful two-legged draws posted recently by the Eagles against lowly rated Sierra Leone.“I believe this is a good development for our football, especially talking about growing our local leagues. Didn’t we all that played for this country come out of the local leagues? Sunday Oliseh came out of the defunct Julius Berger, Taribo West from Rangers, Austin J.J. Okocha from Rangers, Daniel Amokachi from Ranchers Bees, and Finidi George, from Sharks of Port Harcourt and so on.
“Playing in our league with no hope of being called up to the national team is capable of killing one’s spirit and you want to ask yourself, what is the point playing then? But with this new development, it is going to be a good input to the growth of our football with our local league being given priority.
“I believe we have some good players in the local league who can make the national team if well looked properly. This is the reason why you have the technical committee members, who will look round the country and make recommendations,” he said.