The glaring and sustained absence of domestic players in the senior men’s national team has become a stick with which to beat Super Eagles manager Gernot Rohr but recently called up Enyimba defender Ifeanyi Anaemena hopes the situation changes in the not too distant future.
The Enyimba centre half says more call ups for domestic players will have a beneficial effect on the league.
Anaemena was handed a maiden call up to the Super Eagles squad for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against the Benin Republic and Lesotho as a late replacement for Russia based Bryan Idowu who was prevented from travelling to Nigeria by Visa issues.
He joins Heartland goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa as the only other player from the Nigeria Professional Football League in the squad.
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German manager Rohr’s reservation about fielding players from the domestic league is well known with Ezenwa the only player based in Nigeria who consistently makes the squad.
Rohr’s failure to blood in domestic players into the Super Eagles has set him at loggerheads with his employers the Nigeria Football Federation who have reportedly hinged a renewal of the German’s contract which runs out in June of next year on his agreeing to “domesticate” his activities and scout more players from the NPFL for the national team.
Anaemena agrees with the NFF.
“I have to appreciate the opportunity given to me to be invited to the national team and I have to also thank the coach Gernot Rohr for the opportunity,” the 27-year-old said.
“Seeing how things have been going in the NPFL, it has been a great privilege for us the players to be represented in the national team and I know by God’s grace more of the NPFL players will be invited more to boost our league because when we play on the continent we see players talking about the comparison of the league and we know that Nigerian league is good and it will get better when players are being invited.”