Nigerian lawmaker Akin Alabi wants to propose a motion in the Federal House of Representatives mandating “the Nigeria Football Federation and the Super Eagles coach to include at least two Nigeria based players in every squad” the country takes to international football competitions.
The lawmaker representing the Egbeda/Ona Ara Federal Constituency in Oyo State took to Twitter to solicit opinions of Nigerian football fans to determine if the move would have popular backing.
A motion to mandate the NFF and the Super Eagles coach to include at least two Nigeria based players in every squad we take to international football competitions. Is it good for our football? Should we push this or not?
— Oloye Akin Alabi (@akinalabi) March 2, 2020
The bill if passed will compel national team manager Gernot Rohr to include two players from the domestic leagues in his squads for international tournaments.
Rohr has preferred foreign-based players over their domestic counterparts in the course of his four years in charge of the Super Eagles.
Only Heartland goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa can be said to be a regular in the Franco-German’s squads and Rohr has regularly cited the state of the nations topflight and the players’ lack of rudimentary tactical understanding as reasons for frequently overlooking domestic players.
It is a stance that the Federation is looking to change and NFF president Amaju Pinnick has stated that any new contract for the former Gabon coach will hinge on his willingness to “domesticate” his activities amongst other conditions.
Rohr has four months left on his current contract and was reportedly offered a two-year extension last week.
The issue of including domestic players in Super Eagles squads for competitions continues to divide opinion among Nigerians and is one that has raged over many years.
Every national team manager has had to deal with clamour from Nigerian fans and journalists for the inclusion of domestic players in national team squads.
Former Super Eagles manager Stephen Keshi is greatly revered in the country for winning the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations with a squad that had featured several home-based players with many pointing to the exploits of Sunday Mba who scored winners in the semifinals and final as evidence that local players can perform at the highest levels.
Many Nigerians took to Twitter to react to the lawmaker’s proposal.
Some described the idea as a great move and needed panacea.
With suppprt of such motion, local based players will see a sense of belonging and gives room for improvement of our local league players. As we can see in England, players who are doing well in their league is being called up for the national team.
— Abimbola from Pickmeup (@SkimaSax) March 2, 2020
2 is good, but 3 is better.
We can ignore the goal keeping position; at least, one each of the defense, midfield and an attacking positions. Doesn't need to be in this order though, but 3 to me is ideal.
— Follow for a Follow back 🔥 (@usenoliver) March 2, 2020
Yes I support this motion………but won't it attract FIFA ban?
— Olatunde (@Axishale) March 2, 2020
Others though opined that a better move would be improving the quality of the league and welfare packages for domestic players.
Once there is value in the league, you won't need a law to force a coach… I mean, which law did you make that is making him search for players outside? Look for why he is searching for players and do it to the domestic league, and you won't need a law.
— Das Duwem (@D_WarEagle) March 2, 2020
The right thing to do is fix our league to produce good quality. Our best players for every position don't play in our league and we shouldn't sacrifice quality performance/result for mere inclusiveness. I don't see how a policy like this will impact our league positively.
— Idokoanthony (@AnthonyIdoko2) March 2, 2020
Instead of pushing this idea why not push a bill to will improve our local league. Players welfare and medical insurance will be a bill this prayers will appreciate more.
— Tweet of God (@IamTopsy4real) March 2, 2020
Start with a motion to make the league a better one first. Players allowance, sign on fees, health insurance scheme and retirement packages. Move motion on the above.
— Olaoluwa Holla#TheAnnointed#🇳🇬 (@Olaoluw39017217) March 2, 2020
Only players that deserve to be on the team should be
If the quality of our homebased players is not up to standard, they should not picked
Instead work should be done on improving the league
— el (@iam_etukz) March 2, 2020
Many criticised the idea pointing out that move would amount to interference and an attempt to strongarm the coach and install a quota system in the national team
What sort of rubbish motion is this, more like stupid quota system that has gotten us nowhere in this country…Let only the best be selected even if it means only professionals…
— The Ambassador .♥️🎗⚽️.. (@ambassadoriffy) March 2, 2020
Did you know Hon. Akin Alabi, that this proposal potentially violates Article 17 of the FIFA statutes which states that: "Each member shall manage its affairs independently and with no influence from third parties"? That type of motion, and it's incidental mandate placed on…
— Tèmi (@STO_esque) March 2, 2020
You people just fifa to ban us, is this not interfering..????
— 👑 Obong Ekpe 🐯 (@Ody_johnson) March 2, 2020
There are things we cannot legislate. The minute you force q coach to take on players in his squad, you have given him/her readymade excuse for non-performance.
— Shomolu Ray Donovan (@ajulunzewi) March 2, 2020
I am usually against the quota system stuff! Merit should take the center stage—let people compete for their spot. There is the down side of you getting on the team and people looking at you like “You got here because of the slots”.
Would this help the team?🧐
— Opeyemi•|•GBEMIRO (@O_Gbemiro) March 2, 2020
You can't do this to nigerian football, why would you want to drop the quality of players in the team. Victor osimhen, Wilfred Ndidi, chukwueze didn't play for any npfl team, they played for academies and went straight to Europe.
— ADESOJI (@Rhymesrepublic_) March 2, 2020
Some others felt the lawmaker ought to use his time in the House for more pressing issues of national concern
At what point will a motion regards SARS and police brutality
— somebody’s daddy (@mister_olumide) March 2, 2020
Very terrible idea so there’s nothing more important to do with the legislative hours abi,How can you mandate the coach to use players that are not good enough for his style of play?If the team fails do you blame the players?Let’s not shot ourselves in the foot with needless laws
— Michael Alao (@alaomichael) March 2, 2020
The sponsorer of the motion and all of you in that house considering the motion are bunch of jobless people. When we have pertinent and urgent issues that require legislation it's super eagles you people are bothered about. Una just no Wan get sense for Naija
— Talk! Talk!! Talk!!! until something happens 🇳🇬 (@FrikyPee) March 2, 2020