PRESIDENT of the National Association of Nigeria Professional Footballers (NANPF), Tijani Babangida has blasted Nigeria manager, Gernot Rohr for not including any home-based players in his squad list for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Sierra Leone this month.
The German football tactician has picked twentyfour professional players, if you include free agent, Ahmed Musa for the double header, and did not look the way of goalkeeper, Ikechukwu Ezenwa who has consistently made the squad whether he’s given minutes or not.
“They should not boycott because we are already talking about those issues, it’s a very bad idea, and NFF have to sit and discuss those issues that even if three or four chances are given, even if they are not playing but can be on the bench and with the team,” Babangida stated.
“Stephen Keshi was doing that, all the other coaches were doing that. Ezenwa, only him, the goalkeeper was always there, now he was dropped.
“He wasn’t even playing in the team but they still dropped him so I think the NFF must discuss that policy with the technical adviser (Rohr) and try to see that local players also get involved and feel they are also part of the game because I don’t see that in any country where you are using only professionals without giving chance to the local league. That must stop.”
Rohr previously argued that his best players are based overseas but Babangida wants preferential treatment to be given to players plying their trade in the Nigerian Professional Football League.
The few local players the Super Eagles boss invited to the national team soon end up abroad and the cycle continues.
“How about other players that you don’t even use, you bring them and put on the bench.
“You can invite players to the camp and they feel the vibe of the camp so that they will be able to pick it up.
“It doesn’t matter they have to play, if they play it is good for the league, but put one or two players on the bench because there are other players that are not even playing.
“If you are giving 23 players a chance to come into the camp – two cannot hurt you and cannot kill you so that two supposed to be awarded to the local league,” the former Ajax Amsterdam winger explained.