The board of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) have come out to back the stance taken by the president of the federation, Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau, on inviting players to the Super Eagles setup.
Gusau took over from Amaju Pinnick in September 2022 and has been trying to steady the ship in that time. One of his main agendas outside the securing of finances for the various national teams is the technical setup of the teams, especially the Super Eagles.
The past managers of the team have focused on inviting high performers of Nigerian descent from all across the world, leaving a few slots for players that ply their trade in the local leagues in Africa and the country.
Current manager José Peseiro is no different. The Portuguese manager spent his first few months after agreeing to take over as manager touring different countries where players of interest ply their trade. His first call ups had barely any home-based players and he submitted a few names to the NFF technical committee as players of interest.
Jose Peseiro is in Yenegoa for the Bayelsa United vs Abia Warriors game.
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The technical committee have worked to convince most of them to no avail as they keep holding on for a callup from the country of their birth or naturalisation.
The efforts are still ongoing and in an effort to save time and resources, Gusau made his pronouncement.
It came on the back of the Super Eagles sloppy performance against Guinea-Bissau in the March international break. The NFF board met on Monday in Abuja and agreed to back president Gusau's pronouncement, putting out an official statement to that effect via a communiqué.
“The Board expresses distaste with recent results of the Super Eagles and the U23 Boys, and fully endorsed the NFF President's stated position that the Federation will never beg any player to wear the nation's colours,” the communiqué read.
“Whoever is not motivated for one reason or the other to represent Nigeria should always be bold enough to state this at the point of invitation. Any perceived lackadaisical attitude by any player wearing Nigeria's colours at international level will no longer be treated with kid gloves.”
The NFF executives also pointed out the dangers posed by football agents to the national team. In the past, these agents were said to have caused destabilisation leading to poor performances from the players.
The communiqué described these agents as “nefarious individuals” and assured that they will be dealt with should they rear their heads again.
“Genuinely disturbed by the vexed issue of agents and football merchants around the various National Teams and their debilitating effects on the performance of the teams over the past few years, the Board vowed to henceforth, mete out stiff sanctions to whoever is caught aiding or abetting, dealing, perpetrating or perpetuating the ignoble activities of these nefarious individuals no matter their roles, status or pedigree,” the NFF communiqué read.
They also determined to set up boards for the various national leagues in order to make the prospect of getting home based players into the Super Eagles better.
This article was most recently revised and updated 10 months ago