INFLUX OF FOREIGN-BORN SUPER EAGLES: A BLESSING OR CURSE ?

Super Eagles Coach Gernot Rohr Earlier In The Month Spoke Of His Desire Of Convincing More Players With Dual Nationality To Represent The Super Eagles Ahead Of The 2020 World Cup In Qatar, A Look At The Youth Teams Of Major Clubs In England One Will Be Amazed By The Numbers Of Players’ Eligible To Play For The Super Eagles.

Earlier In The Week Pictures Of NFF President Amaju Pinnick Alongside QPR Sensation Ebere Eze Was All Over The Internet A Testament To Rohr’s Desire Of Bring In More Players.In Time Past Players Such As Alex Iwobi,William Ekong,Leon Balogun,Joel Aribo,Ola Aina,Semi Ajayi, Tyrone Ebuehi And Maduka Okoye Have All Pledged Their International Future To Nigeria

Above All We Need To Critically Examine This Development Looking At The Pros And Cons

Written by Atilola Oluseyi Olabanji @atilola_oluseyi

THE GOOD OLD DAYS

In The Early 1990’s Which Was A Stage Of Rebuilding For The Super Eagles Following Past Failures And The Team Had A Mix Of Home Based Players And Few Players Who Just Moved To Europe, Coach Clement Westerhof Invited England Born Defender Rebuen Agboola For The Afcon Qualifers In 1991, He Won A Bronze Medal At The 1992 Afcon, He Opened The Gate For The Invitation Of More Foreign Born Players To The Nigerian Team, Efan Ekoku Of Norwich City Was Next To Be Invited He Was A Member Of The Afcon Winning Team In 1994 And He Also Played At The World Cup In 1994 But The Romance Did Not Last Long , One Thing Agboola And Ekoku Had In Common Was They Did Not Play For Long With The Super Eagles, Agboola Felted Cheated For A Long Period As He Was Owned Countless Numbers Of Un-Refunded Traveling Ticket Fees And The Memory Of The Super Eagles Having To Cut Off Their Track Suit Into Short In An Afcon Qualifier Match Against Burkina Faso Following Late Arrival Of Jersey Was Unforgivable, Ekoku On Is Part Felt Used And Was Seen As Not Good Enough In Spite Of His Goal Scoring Exploit With Norwich City

THE DEBATE

An Average Player Born In Europe Tends To Understand The Basics And Technicalities Of Football More Than A Player Born In Africa Who Rely Solely On Their In Born Abilities, Attention To Details Such As Diet And Nutrition Attest To The Level Of Professionalism Attached To Football Development In Europe. (Am I Saying A Player Trained In Europe Is Better Than A Player Trained In Africa?)

A Lot Of Football Fans In Time Past Have Said If A Player With Dual Nationality Is Good Enough They Will Never Play For Nigeria (Tammy Abraham And Fikayo Tomori Comes To Our Mind) But For Every Abraham And Tomori There Was A Carlton Cole And Gabriel Agbolahar Who Turned Down The Opportunity To Play For The Super Eagles Only To Make Less Than 5 Appearances For The English National Team

SUCCESS STORY

Victor Moses Represented England At The Youth Level, He Played At The Under 17 World In 2007, A Competition The Golden Eaglet Of Nigeria Won And The Competition Produced Stars Such As David De Gea,Toni Kros, Eden Hazard,Borjan ,Christian Benteke And James Rodrigues.

Moses Struggled To Progress Into The England National Team Despite His Wonderful Performances With Crystal Palace Which Led To His Big Money Move To Wigan , The Opportunity To Play For The Super Eagles Came Calling And Moses Grabbed It With His Two Hands , He Won The 2013 Afcon ,Played At 2014 And 2018 World Cup In Brazil And Russia Respectively, Was Nominated For The BBC African Footballer Of The Year In 2017

Willian Troost Ekong Made His Debut For Nigeria 2015, He Was A Free Agent At That Point After He Was Released By Dutch Team Groningen, Ekong Performance At 2016 Olympics With The Nigerian Team Earned Him A Transfer Move To Bursaspor In Turkey. Nigeria Gave Him The Platform To Fly

FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN

The Early Retirement Of Victor Moses After The 2018 World Cup In Russia Raised Questions Of Loyalty And Sincere Love For The Nation, Will These Players Be Loyal To Nigeria For Life Or They Will Use The Super Eagles To Achieve Their Various Levels Of Career Breakthrough Then Turn Their Back Against The Nation? Will They See Playing For Nigeria As An Opportunity To Represent Their Fathers Land Indeed? Or They Feel They Are Doing Us A Favor By Playing For The National Team? And Will Our Administrative Incompetence Such As Owing Match Bonus Deter Them From Giving Their All?

IMPACT ON THE HOME GROWN TALENT

Influx Of Foreign Born Players In The Super Eagles, Represent An Easy Way Out For Sport Administrator In Nigeria And Serve As An Opportunity Of Not Taking Responsibility Of Developing Grassroot Football Knowing Well That Somewhere In Europe There Are Players Who Have The Right Training Already And Will Walk Straight Into The National Team And

The Sport Administrators Only Needs To Sharpen Their Persuasive Skills To Convince This Players To Play For Nigeria.

Controversially One Of The Latest Super Eagle’s Invitee Goalkeeper Maduake Okoye Plays In The 4th Division Of German Football, Did We Just Conclude There Are No Good Keepers In The Nigerian Professional League That’s Why We Have Gone To The 4th Division To Look For One?

Way Forward

“Balance” Is The Answer, The Growth Process Must Be Balanced, Lets Develop The Local Leagues, Give Every Player A Fair Treatment And Never Beg A Player To Play For The National Team Because If You Beg Them To Play Once You Will Have To Keep On Begging Them To Come Back.

And Finally What If There Is A Change In Fifa’s Rule, A Need For Us To Rethink And Strategize On How To Develop A Working Football Culture

What do you think ? Leave a comment