• Atsaka pleads for more home-based stars
Former Nigerian international, Bright Omokaro has expressed dismay over the invitation of 23 foreign-based players by Coach Gernot Rohr for the 2021 African Nations Cup qualifier against the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone, saying it is a waste of scarce resources.
Nigeria will host Sierra Leone at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba on the March 27. Omokaro said the Super Eagles’ coach should have included six or seven home-based players to the squad because not all the listed overseas-based players would play in the tie.
He posited that the continuous neglect of home-based players was part of the things affecting the growth of the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL), adding that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) should compel Rohr to keep consider home-based players in his selections because ‘the federation exists because of the Nigerian league.’
“The NFF will send flight money to all these players and at the end of the day not all the players will play. They will also collect match bonuses.
“I have been advising that the national team should be a blend of foreign and home-based players. I don’t understand how we got to this point.
“Rohr has continued to neglect home-based players and nobody is saying anything about it. This is too bad. How can Nigerian players gain experience if they are not allowed to compete for shirts in their national team.
“The NFF Is not saying anything about this. As an ex player, I know the psychological effect of on a player if he is not invited to the national team, especially if the player believes he has all it takes to part of the team.
“If this anomaly is not curtailed, the domestic league will not develop because every Nigerian player will be aspiring to play for foreign clubs to the detriment of the local clubs,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lobi Stars FC Goalkeeper Daniel Atsaka has also lamented the exclusion of local players from the AFCON qualifier against the Leone Stars, pleading with the NFF to give NPFL players a quota in the Super Eagles.“I am not happy that domestic players were not invited to the Super Eagles. The NFF should give us a quota of four or five players in the team.
“People should understand that the inability of the league body to show the NPFL on television for people to see the quality of players in the league is not our fault. The NFF should help us.“The efforts the domestic players put in week in, week out in the league requires Super Eagles call up. Only one domestic goalkeeper, Ezenwa, is in the national team, but the coaches need to invite more domestic players,” he added.