By Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde
Sports Writer, kick442.com Nigeria
Rohr is right by not inviting home-based players to Super Eagles camp.Nigeria no longer have high profile players due to laziness.
FIFA licensed football agent, Olawale Onipede has said that Nigerian players most especially the home based players are lazy and not focused hence their failure to play in high profile European clubs.
“Most importantly, African players and Nigerian players lack discipline and focus. For example, when a Nigerian player signs a contract in Europe with a small team starting with 3,000-5,000 Euros. Then after one or two seasons, he lost his concentration, not determined and consistent in training. This might be due to the little money he sees or the kind of background he came from. It is rare to see Nigerian players play at the top realm because they are lazy.” He said.
Olawale Onipede gave an instance of former highest goal scorer in the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL that he took to Egypt stating that Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr is right if he decides not to invite home-based players to the national team camp due to their laziness.
“I have an opportunity to be with a former Nigerian national team coach. He said that you will meet a Nigerian league player, you tell them to go for lap training and jogging. Then you tell them to move. Immediately they start discussing instead, not minding time factor. But if you bring a European based player, they will jog for the next ten to fifteen minutes, sweating and not talking because they are concentrating and fast about it.”
“Gernot Rohr is very right when he said that he doesn’t have any Nigeria league player that he wants to invite to the national team. People think that he doesn’t know what he is saying. We, agents, know these guys very well. For instance, I took a Kano
Pillars player to the Egyptian league. As at this time, he was the top goal scorer in the Nigeria league then. We took him there. He was trying to carry his shoulder and elbow. I was like hey guy, calm down and focus, play this friendly game and make name for yourself so that you can get a contract.”
The Chief Executive Officer, CEO of Reigns Soccer Agency opined that Nigerian players in Europe are also lazy but a bit better than their home based counterparts asserting that this is the major reason why Nigerian players can not win African Footballer of the Year Award.
“The players we have in Europe are better than our league players. In spite of the fact that the ones in Europe are also lazy and not doing all, they need to do to be best. They feel comfortable with the little money they earn. Even their family can not talk to them because he is the breadwinner. Player management is also important. A lot of things are required when managing a player so that such a player’s career doesn’t cut short within a short period of time. We also hope for the best for our Nigerian players as time goes on. We continue to pray to God almighty to give them the wisdom and understanding for them to survive in Europe. To be in Europe is not easy. If you are not the best, you will not be reckoned with. For you to be the best, you need to do the extraordinary hard work day in day out for you to be reckoned with in Europe.” He concluded.
Since being ranked fifth in 1994 on FIFA Rankings, Super Eagles has witnessed a steady decline after France 1998 FIFA World Cup by failing to move past the Round of 16 whereas the likes of Senegal and Ghana with their World Cup debut in 2002 and 2006 making it to the Quarterfinal stage ahead of Nigeria. The last time that a Nigerian player last won the African Footballer of the Year was in 1999 when Kanu Nwankwo won the award.
It is such a pathetic story that the giant of Africa can no longer compete for major trophies in Africa and at the global stage but instead settle for third place in Africa and Round of 16 at the World Cup. It is hoped that Nigerian players both at home and abroad can raise their game in order to take Nigeria back to its Glory days in football annals.
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