Preference for overseas-based players killing Nigerian league, says Shorunmu
Former Super Eagles’ Goalkeeper, Ike Shorunmu has urged the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to help in raising the standard of the country’s league by urging national team coach, Gernot Rohr to give home-based players opportunities in his side.
Shorunmu said he was worried by the consistent invitation of mostly overseas-based players for Super Eagles’ matches and called on the Nigerian coach to review his strategies. He argued that the trend has had a terrible effect on the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) and the country’s football in general.
The former Super Eagles goalkeepers’ trainer noted that in the past, Nigerian players worked hard and remained in the country because they knew they would get the chance to play for the national team some day. But that, he said, has changed as the players rush out of the country because they see it as the only way to get international recognition.
He urged the NFF and the League Management Company (LMC) to join hands with the clubs to ensure the domestic league grew to an enviable standard, adding that allowing more home grown players to represent the country in international championship would help the game grow.
Shorunmu said: “Most Nigerian players now want to travel to any country in the world to play so that they will be invited to the Super Eagles. I don’t understand how we got to this level.
“It is the dream of every Nigerian player to play for the national team one day. If the domestic players keep moving out of the country, how will the league grow?
“Soon we may no longer see quality players in the Nigerian league if this trend continued. The domestic players need to be given the opportunity to compete for shirts with their foreign-based counterparts as it will give them the necessary exposure.”
The former Shooting Stars of Ibadan goalkeeper also urged the national team coaches to open the squad to more goalkeepers to see what they can offer the country.
He opined that there were some quality goalkeepers in the country that need the chance to prove their mettle.