Lawal counsels NPFL players after CHAN eagles’ heavy defeat to Togo
Former international, Garba Lawal, has admonished players in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) to always go the extra miles by working on their fitness level in readiness for a call up to the national teams.
Lawal stated that opportunity not utilised in an international games, whether or not the league is on recess might spell doom for them. There are insinuations that the 1-4 loss suffered by the CHAN Eagles in the hands of the Sparrow Hawk of Togo national team towards qualifying for the Africa Nations Championship (CHAN), was due to the inactivity of the players, as the league is yet to resume. Coach Imama Amapakabo hurriedly assembled the team for the CHAN qualifier in Lome.
An unhappy Lawal, a former member of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Technical Department, said he was tired of expressing his opinions on any issue concerning football in the country, saying that his opinions and others from former Internationals do not count as things still remain as they were.
“My opinions cannot change anything. I have been talking for more than six to seven years now, expressing my views on certain issues that we need to correct in our football. What have they done with the pieces of advice? Nothing. So, many of my colleagues have also said theirs but it is if we are wasting our time.
“The fact that our league is yet to start should not be an excuse why we lost in the CHAN qualifier to Togo in the first place. If we had won, the journalists will not go about asking why we won. But because we lost, they want to know why.
“As a professional you have to be ready at all times because it could at the time you least expected that you may be called to play for the country. And if you don’t make the best use of the opportunity, it might be the end of such a privilege,” he said, adding that players too need to go extra miles on their own to develop themselves against any demanding task in the national team.
“The players know that the league is not good enough, and that is why they have to prepare themselves ahead of any task. If you are invited as a national team player and you mess up, you may have yourself to blame and something you may live to regret for the rest of your life.
“The CAF continental championships are ongoing and we have some of players taking part in them. So, I do not think we have any excuse as regards having the home-based players for any International engagement meant for the NPFL players. In Nigeria, we don’t look forward to planning for a match in order to fix certain things to avoid losing. But it is only after we might have suffer defeat that we now begin to look for solutions,” he said.
Lawal, who is currently the Head Coach and team manager of newly founded Nigeria National League (NNL), side Real Bees of Kaduna, stated the duty of the NFF Technical Committee has been rendered useless, as there are no checks and balances for coaches of the national teams unlike in the past.
“It has been long that we had a functional technical department of the NFF for almost two years now. Now, national coaches will bring in lists of players that will engage some International matches and nobody is there to call them to order unlike when we had the technical department that assess the lists of players invited.
“What existed 15 to 20 years ago is not what is happening now. In my days, there were continuity, discipline and consistency. Things are no longer the same again as the right things are not been done again. So, what I say, what Okocha, Kanu, Babaginda, and the rest say do not matter any longer. So, there is no need to talk again when you know that your views are nothing but a waste of time,” he stated.