The anger of Sports Minister, Mr. Sunday Dare at the showings of the Super Eagles against Sierra Leone in Benin and in Freetown would have remained mere anger if he wasn’t a Political appointee.
But because he is, he had the authority to speedily call the NFF top echelon to a meeting to address the “HORROR in Benin”. The Freetown result is forgivable and respectable.
The minister is so badly worried now that he has demanded 25 per cent of home-based players should be in the Eagles at all times.
Mr Dare, I believe, sees this as a way to strengthen the team and to make it truly SUPER.
Die hard advocates of local content in the Eagles line-up have been popping champagne since this announcement.
I am for it as well in principle, but also believe this requires a consistent revolutionary process.
Having covered the Nigerian league for 20 years, and having seen the difference between the first and the last two decades of these 20 years, I don’t see our current league atmosphere producing the same quality of players that made it to the national team and later made marks in Europe especially between I990 and 1994,and somehow up till late 2000.
Mr Sunday Dare’s clairvoyance may be projecting and giving a directive that must be adhered to in many years from now, but we all know his is an office that is always at the mercy of the whims of politics. So this may just be ephemeral.
My big worry is still that aside the fact that our league is not professionally run, our clubs (both public and private) are poorly-funded and abysmally-run, our environments are not purveying genuine talents anymore to feed the league and to attract national and international scouts.
Except the Super Eagles camp is for rudimentary lessons of the game, I’m uncomfortable with any local invitee if the current atmosphere of the game is still the measure of invitation.
The minister’s mind may have been cast back to the years league venues were like world cup matches, the years when Sunday Eboigbe and Bright Omokaro would leave Abiola Babes camp to play for the Eagles the next weekend.
Perhaps more when Ogedegbe would man the goal, Adiele, Bamidele,Chukwu and Isima would man the Eagles defence and Musa Lawal, Atuegbu,Owolabi,Nwosu, Adokiye Amiesimaka and Segun Odegbami- all local league players would form the Eagles first eleven.
However, I won’t lose sight of the impact of European exposure on our local players when they started leaving in droves especially when Keshi began it all in 1985. This made our 1988, 1990, 1992 and 1994 nation’s cup and world cup outings what they were.
Europe is very sensitive and world class, it only admits the best, especially its top sides. But such can only develop in the right atmosphere.
Such atmosphere is missing now it will only take a few years of consistent,purposeful and economically profitable administration of our league to create, and that is when the dream of the minister could come to fruition.
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