Greedy agents killing Nigerian football, says Ike Shorunmu
Former Super Eagles Goalkeeper, Ike Shorunmu believes that greedy football agents were killing Nigerian football with their quest to make quick money through selling immature domestic players to obscure foreign clubs. Shorunmu said Nigerian national teams were not doing well in international football because the country no longer produced quality stars.
He lamented that football agents go round the country searching for talented players, who were not yet fully developed and therefore don’t understand the philosophy that guides the game, and then sell them to obscure clubs in Europe and Asia.
According to Shorunmu, the Super Falcons failed at the ongoing Women World Cup in France because the country no longer produced quality football stars in the women league.He also explained that the underdevelopment of the Nigerian league was another factor that has a ripple effect on the performance of players in international engagements.
“The Nigerian national teams have continued to find it difficult to challenge the world’s top teams because due to the activities of football agents.“During my era, before a player went abroad to play for any club, that player must have attained a level of development on and off the pitch. Players were not just sent abroad even if the player was talented.
“But these days, you see agents taking players out of the country without due process. These anomalies are now affecting our national teams.“Looking at the Super Eagles, Flying Eagles and now Super Falcons’ performance at world championships, you will notice that they only won one match against what people might perceive as the weakest team in their groups with mostly foreign-based players.
“In the past, our national teams contended favourably with top foreign teams. Most of the players that achieved this feat were players from the local league and some from the grassroots, who later travelled abroad to play.“When the players came back to represent Nigeria with experience and exposure they got from their foreign clubs, they blended well with their home-based counterparts,” he said.
Shorunmu added: “There are abundant talents in all parts of the country. The Nigerian league needs to be re-organised to meet international standards. If you watched the way the French, Brazilian, English and German women’s teams played at the ongoing World Cup, you would notice they played like their male counterparts.
“This is in line with the league structures in these countries. Nigeria needs to have a strong football philosophy that can guide players to the top. If this is achieved, more quality players would be produced by the league as it happened in the past.He regretted that every Nigerian player wants to go out of the country at all cost because that is the only way they feel they would be noticed v by national teams and also earn money. “If things were done right in the country, the players will remain here to develop to their potentials and that way, we will always have quality players for the national teams,” he said.
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