Are Home-based Players good enough?

Players in the domestic league in Nigeria had the best period, between 2013 and 2017 when the late Stephen Keshi was head coach, to play for the senior national team. That is now not the case as the current German coach looks abroad and to foreign born Nigerians to play for the Super Eagles.

If Rohr had been in charge between 2013-16, the following players would never have featured for the West African nation: Sunday Mba (Afcon winning goal-scorer), Azubuike Egwuekwe, Godfrey Oboabona, Ejike Uzoenyi and Emeka Eze.

Indeed, the German coach was quoted in 2017 as saying: “Our best players are playing in Europe. Senegal, who we played against in London, had no local player. The big teams don’t have local players.”

If Rohr had a different disposition towards home-based like his predecessor, the following players could have been part of the Super Eagles by now:

Junior Lokosa - The Kano Pillars man, who thumped 19 goals last season in the NPFL, is highly aggressive, strong and a fox in the box with lethal shots. He could give Ighalo healthy competition.

Mfon Udoh (Eyimba) - According to Wikipedia: “Udoh has been described as a complete forward who possesses pace, good positioning, natural finishing as well as the ability to provide assist; difficult to stop once in the penalty area.” Udoh also takes effective free-kicks.

Ikouwem Udoh – A natural left back with flair, passion and eloquent positioning, Utin – as he is also known – would clearly have attracted the interest of a pro-home-based coach like Keshi. His performances and all-round play for Eyimba in Caf competitions have not gone unnoticed.

Theophilus Afelokhai - The Eyimba goalkeeper is one of the most experienced in the Nigeria Professional Football League. His saves played a huge role in helping the Aba side to the semi-finals of the Confederation Cup. With a good footwork and sharp reflexes, Theo could have been part of the Super Eagles by now under a different coach.


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