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Is Finidi George Right To Replace Injured Osimhen With a Homebase Player?

After it was became apparent that Victor Osimhen would miss June's World Cup qualifiers due to injury, Coach Finidi replaced him with a homebased player.

I am beginning to spot the beginnings a trend here: name your main squad and put homebase players on standby.

Should injury-prone Chukwueze and Ndidi drop out on health grounds, my Kobo is on homebase players on veiled standby will replace them.

I have never really had issues with a smidgen of homebase players kitting out for the Super Eagles. But the more the quantity of homebase players the less quality the team will likely assume.

Already, we have that impressive lad from Tanzania who so easily can pass for a homebase player making it 3 outfield players from moderate Africa leagues and 5 in total when you consider the 2 Africa-based goalkeepers.

In total, something like a quarter of the 23 players called upon (22%) are based in Africa.

In the last Afcon, out of 25 players, only 2 were based in Africa, representing just 8%. None of these was an outfield player.

In fact, in the last world cup qualifier against Zimbabwe, again none of the 2 homebase players invited was an outfield player.

Slowly but surely the number of Africa based players is on the rise.

Is this a positive development?

Only time will tell. The Tanzanian based lad raised eyebrows in his invitation the last time around however, happily, he appeared to have justified his invite.

The homebase fullbacks invited this time around appear to be shrewd and brazen invites. Feelers from followers of the NPFL rate these players highly.

To be brutally honest, the likes of Akpoguma, Semi Ajayi and recently Ebuehi have struggled to bring to bear that historical Nigerian hard-nose no nonsense defensive display. You will say the sort, on a bad day, that gifted Italy a penalty that knocked Nigeria out of the 1994 World Cup or, on a good day, the type that Taribo West employed to attain Olympic Gold 2 years later.

Whichever way, so long as these players do the deed, fans will withhold our complaint.

But it's a massive gamble to diminish the quality of leagues players are drawn from to prosecute crucial encounters.

Let's just hope it's gamble that pays off.

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