Former Super Eagles assistant coach Sylvanus Okpala has called on both the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) and national team officials not to beg any foreign-born player to play for the team this year.
Speaking to The Guardian yesterday about the Super Eagles’ road to success in the new year, Okpala stated that the ability for a player to decide for himself to play for Nigeria without any pressure would help the team instill a high level of commitment.
when processing matches.
He said Nigeria has plenty of talented players in both domestic and foreign leagues who are good enough to motivate foreign-born Nigerians to play for their country without being pressured.
“One thing that needs to be corrected for the Super Eagles to return to their glory days is that no player is begged by the coaches and the NFF to play for the team.
When a player turns down the offer to play for the Super Eagles, he has to be on his own,” Okpala said.
He continues: “A player cannot give the best of himself to the team if he is under pressure to play in the Super Eagles.
The level of commitment of the players is very important in a team.
Even if you have the top eleven players on a team and there is not 100% team spirit, the team will not be successful.
Begging players to play for Nigeria is one of the factors that is killing the Super Eagles.
We have talent everywhere who can motivate any foreign-born player to play for Nigeria.
Speaking further, Okpala said: “When I was assistant coach to Stephen Keshi, we used both foreign and domestic players.
Players based abroad were fighting for a place in the team, and therefore the level of commitment of the Super Eagles was high in that period.
“Current Super Eagles managers should work hard to get credible players who are hungry for success on the team,” he said.
Okpala also asked the NFF to map out what he described as “a well-designed program to reposition the nation’s football from the grassroots level.