14th October, 2010
Plateau United coach, Ndubuisi Nduka, fears for the future of the Super Eagles if drasticÂ changes are not made in the selection process adopted as regards playersâ€™ call up to theÂ national team.
The Super Eagles, complete with a full turn out of foreign-based stars played off theÂ park and beaten one-nil by an average Guinean side in theÂ 2012 Africa Nations CupÂ qualifier in Conakry last Sunday.
Accusing fingers were pointed towards the direction of Coach Austin Eguavoen, but CoachÂ Nduka absolved the stand in manager of all the blame.
â€œThere is a system, a deeply entrenched system is already in place and for anyone toÂ expect an acting manager to do away with that system at the blink of an eye is quiteÂ unfair to say the least,â€ he told SuperSport.com.
â€œI have been privileged to follow the work of Eguavoen since he was appointed and I knowÂ he has great plans for our football. I am certain that if given the job on a permanentÂ basis,Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Eguavoen will do a lot for ourÂ locally based players.â€
Nduka said the foreign-based stars are not bad players but faulted their attitude andÂ commitment levels when on national duty, as the prime reason for Nigeriaâ€™s steady declineÂ as a football playing nation.
â€œWe watch these guys on satellite television every week, the way theyÂ play for EuropeanÂ teams cannot be questioned.
â€œHowever, the foreign- based players know that (because of the flawed selection system)Â they will always get to play. That explains their lackadaisical approach to matches theyÂ play for the National team. The stars believe they are untouchable.
â€œSo, capable local players must be integrated into the team and made to have a sense ofÂ belonging. They must not be invited for the sole reason of training with the foreignÂ stars and getting second half cameos when the cause is already lost. If the local ladsÂ know that they stand a decent chance of breaking into the team upon performance, theÂ foreign stars will be forced to sit up. It is a question of common sense,â€ Nduka said.
The former Plateau United coach who was the first to tutore Chelseaâ€™s John Mikel Obi atÂ professional level, also has some words for the officials at the Nigeria FootballÂ Federation, NFF and Nigeria Premier League, NPL.
â€œIf the head is not strong, the body cannot stand. Professionalism at its apex must beÂ the watch word in our league. Call ups must be done on merit and things must be put inÂ proper perspective. â€œWe have what it takes to rule football once again on the continentÂ and can also be a major player on the world stageâ€ he said.