FG To Investigate Absence Of Home-based Players From Super Eagles
By Amaechi Agbo
The ripple effects of the insipid two draws the Super Eagles of Nigeria recorded against Sierra Leone in the two-leg 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers last week are yet to die down with the federal government disclosing that it would investigate why home-based players are not invited to the team, Bestchoicesports.com.ng can report.
The minister of youth and sports development, Sunday Dare disclosed this on Tuesday after a critical assessment meeting on the matches with the leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation in Abuja.
Nigeria played two AFCON qualifying matches against Sierra Leone in Benin where the Eagles squandered a 4-0 lead to draw the match 4-4 in the regulation time. The team was unable to redeem itself after it laboured to an uninspiring 0-0 draw against the Leone Stars in Freetown.
“Nigeria at this point must use the opportunity of the outcome of the Nigeria/Sierra Leone March to X-ray the other factors beyond the Technical Adviser that must have contributed to the dismal performance. We must raise the necessary interrogatories about the general administration around the team, the absence of local content or home-based players in the team, the domestic league development and growth, issues of ethics, nutrition, Psychology, content and so on,” the minister said.
He went on, “The recent dismal performance of the Super Eagles in their qualifiers against Sierra Leone has raised a few concerns and brought to fore the need to do a quick critique. The Government, while concerned about the dismal performance and non-discernible pattern of play and team harmony in the Super Eagles, is looking beyond the outcome of the Nigeria versus Sierra Leone matches and AFCON. We are looking at the present and future administration of football that speaks to the development of the front room and backroom.
“The NFF must tightly hold the Technical Adviser to the KPIs in his contract. Thus, we cannot wait for those conditions to come to life, before we tighten the screws or demand a higher or better performance, better technical depth, better player mix and team harmony and a functional national team, else Nigeria and Football lovers in Nigeria will be the greatest losers. In this area, NFF must take necessary steps and actions beyond Rohr to protect our football fortunes.
“The federal government will ask the tough and relevant questions. The NFF should do the same. The right of Nigerians to ask of Government and indeed NFF explanations for dismal performances and football administration cannot be simply characterized as interference. On our part, we will work to support the NFF but we will also demand for answers and changes too on behalf of Nigerians. CAF and FIFA while we appreciate their working partnerships are expected to support Nigeria in its quest to ensure an effectual football administration.
“Football is now both business and politics. A tool of diplomacy. Governments are more than interested in how it’s run. The FGN is interested even beyond that. Football is a source of national pride. A rallying point and promoter of peace and Unity.
“NFF should be more concerned about the failure of technical depth and absence of a defence mechanism which were glaring during the encounter with Sierra Leone rather than the rush to defend the contract of the Technical Adviser.
“Starting now, Nigeria must demand a higher or better performance from the technical adviser. We can’t wait until he fails to qualify our team for AFCON and the World Cup before we start to ask the tough questions. In this respect, I charge the NFF leadership to immediately take necessary steps to protect our football fortunes working with the MYSD,” the Minister declared.
The NFF President, Mr. Amaju Pinnick, while providing a background to what happened, assured the Minister that NFF will not shirk in its responsibilities. He said a few changes and adjustments as discussed and suggested by the Ministry will be put into motion.
Some of these changes and adjustments include a Super Eagles’ administrative structures that will include a physical trainer, nutritionist, a psychologist and two match readers or more, injection of three to four home-based players into the Super Eagles picked from the professional league, the Technical Adviser must watch weekly NPFL games and evolve a scientific template to benchmark the performance of the Technical Adviser and the Team. NFF must operate contract as an active document and hold the Technical Adviser to a higher standard.