There has been news making the rounds that some dual nationality players were asked to foot their flight tickets to the Under-20 camp. I will like to address this theme and also touch on the need to encourage or coerce dual nationality players to kit out for the various national teams of Nigeria.
Paying For Flight Tickets: Whilst on the face of it this might sound horrendous, perhaps one can attempt – as painful as it is – make a case for the NFF on this occasion. The thing is, I read about this myself and was initially mortified. But it then dawned on me that some of the players asked to pay for their tickets are those coming for auditions.
I applaud these young players and thoroughly respect their decision to ‘try out’ with Nigeria. But, I guess because the camps of the youth teams of Nigeria are already over-bloated, with in excess of 30 players, I guess the NFF considers it impractical to pay for all of these ‘prospects’ to come and audition only to be dropped if they fail to make the grade.
Personally, I think there are two categories : 1) those invited by Ugbade and Bosso and 2) those recommended to them. I suspect the NFF will gladly cover the flight costs of the former and then ask the latter to initially cover their own travel costs and then claim it back if successful in selection.
All these are suppositions on my part as I don’t have sources in the camps for accurate information.
On the general issue of luring dual nationality players to Nigeria, I personally feel it should be on a case-by-case basis. If a dual nationality player is clearly exceptional – like Victor Moses – then perhaps a more compelling approach should be used to sell the Super Eagles project to such players.
We shouldn’t go hands on knees to beg these players but going the extra mile in a professional manner should achieve the right objectives without selling the Super Eagles brand short.
The truth of the matter is that there are plentiful decent dual nationality players who are already queuing up to represent Nigeria. If not for the unfortunate cold hands of injuries, the likes of
Tom Dele-Bashiru and Nathan Oforboh would already be fully fledged Super Eagles by now. Due to cut throat competition, others like Josh Maja, Chuba Akpom and Sebastian Osigwe might never get to have meaningful Super Eagles careers despite openly pledging allegiance to Nigeria.
So, pledging allegiance to Nigeria is never a guarantee of selection.
But the national teams should be managed in more professional manner. Planning, preparations and payments of emoluments should mirror methods practiced in Western countries. If that happens, it will become easier to convince players to dawn the green white green.
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