Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr should “take a leaf” from Falcons coach Thomas Dennerby and call up more “beautiful, wonderful, skilful, youthful players” from the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) to the men’s senior national team the President of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) Amaju Pinnick has said.
Mr Pinnick was speaking on a popular sports programme Sports Zone on the Lagos based radio station Lagos Talks where he clarified that his stance on limiting the number of foreign-based players called up by Rohr wasn’t due to a “paucity of funds” as had been widely reported.
“I did not say [Rohr should limit the number of foreign-based players he calls up to the senior national team] because of the paucity of funds,” the NFF President clarified.
“What I said [was that] Gernot Rohr should go round the country and scout for players, we shouldn’t be one hundred per cent depending on foreign-based players. There are some beautiful, wonderful, skilful, youthful players in our league.”
Rohr has often cited a dearth of quality players in the NPFL coupled with players’ long periods of inactivity owing to the abrupt truncation of the 2017/2018 league season as major reasons why he has continually overlooked players from the domestic league when choosing his squads.
The President of the NFF however, maintained that the domestic league has an abundant array of quality players who can add value to the Super Eagles if allowed the opportunity.
“There are some beautiful, wonderful, skilful, youthful players our leagues,” Pinnick said. “ Even when the league was not on, the FA Cup was on, that’s what we said to [Rohr]: you can’t be playing against Seychelles and be going with 23 professionals, what will you do when you are playing against Cameroon?
“So we said, carry on with your team have like sixteen or seventeen foreign-based players – it’s just an advice – some of the players that play in the local league should make the team, and that’s what we said to him.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that and if you look at [Thomas] Dennerby the Super Falcons coach, he’s always in Nigeria going round, looking at the teams. He wants to see the teams, he wants to identify new players, he wants to study new players. Gernot [Rohr] should take a leaf from the guy and that’s the truth.”
The Super Falcons final 21 woman squad to the 2018 African Women Cup of Nations in Ghana announced by Dennerby had nine players from the domestic league.
Gernot Rohr’s 23 man squad for the 17 November African Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa in Johannesburg had just two players from the NPFL in it with a further three including the top scorer in the 2017/2018 NPFL season Junior Lokosa placed on standby.