Nigeria Is the Best Africa National Football Team on Paper – Mosimane
By Amaechi Agbo
Coach of CAF Champions League winners Al Ahly of Egypt, Pitso Mosimane has questioned Nigeria’s perceived dominance in Africa football stating that the three-time champions of the continent are Africa best on paper.
The former Bafana Bafana coach who stated this in an interview recently, noted that although Nigeria is ranked as the 4th most successful country in wining the Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON, blamed the current problems facing Nigeria national team on over reliance on players not born in Nigeria as well as failure of the coaches to blend local players with the professionals.
“If I can be honest with you Nigeria on paper is the best national team in Africa. I said on paper because when it comes on how many AFCON Trophies I think they are 4th. Because you have Egypt, Cameroon, Ghana, Algeria and Nigeria. Despite not winning AFCON Trophies often. they still have a host of Players playing in European top leagues playing for big Clubs.
“They always produce top players but of course most of those players didn’t grow up in Nigeria so maybe their mindset or passion is not on good frame when representing Nigeria or maybe the problem is internal in their FA. But the last AFCON which they won in RSA 2013, the late head Coach Stephen used a lot of local youngsters mixed with tried and tested based European players,” ,” Pitso Mosimane said
Coach Mosimane who added that local players when blended with the oversea players produce success sited countries such as Egypt, Senegal and Algeria who have achieved recent successes by having a mixture of foreign-based and local-based players in their various squad for the continental competition.
He asserted that Europe based players do not give enough than the local players and advised the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF to take good care of their local league and players than Europe-based players who are concerned about not picking up injury when they are on national assignment.
“Local players always bring Success. Look at Egyptian national team they always win with 85% local players, but once it’s 50 % local they fail. Look at Senegal for example they are winning nothing, Algeria struggled for decades to eventually win. Ivory Coast with the Golden generation only won once and failed many times.
“Yes, Europe based players are not giving enough more than local players. Zambia won mostly with local players. Imagine if the Senegal or Nigeria FA can start their own roots level football and develop those players, take care of their local leagues they would be more deadly than relying on European players who are always concerned about picking up injuries because they are more concentrated on their football clubs than national team.
“It is my opinion,” he concluded.
Nigeria’s Super Eagles commitment to national assignment came under serious scrutiny after they failed to record a win against Sierra Leone in a double-headed 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in November 2020.
Mosimane served as the care-taker coach of the South African national team, nicknamed as Bafana Bafana, for seven games in 2007, prior to the appointment of Carlos Alberto Parreira as head coach of the national team, whom Mosimane served as an assistant coach under during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
He also served as assistant to Joel Santana during the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup.
On 15 July 2010, Mosimane was named as the new head coach of South Africa and was handed a four-year contract.
He won his first game in charge in a 1–0 win over World Cup quarter-finalists Ghana.
South Africa failed to qualify for the 2012 African Cup of Nations after Mosimane mistakenly played for a draw in the final qualifier against Sierra Leone, when in fact a victory was require