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Over reliance on Foreign-based players worries Owolabi


Former International, Felix Owolabi

Former International, Felix Owolabi, has cast doubt on the future of home-based players in the country. Since Gernot Rohr’s appointment as the country’s head coach, he has continued to rely on foreign-based players to prosecute all Super Eagles matches.

The team is scheduled to meet Ukraine in an international friendly on Tuesday.

Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Owolabi stated that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) should have objectified why Rohr was employed in the first place, which to him, is to expose the home-based players to the international challenges so as to boost their confidence.


Owolabi is surprised that only Katsina United FC goalkeeper, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, among home players, has remained consistent in every list of Rohr since his appointment. He believes that other good local players deserve to be given opportunities in the team, especially since the game against Ukraine was a mere friendly fixture.

“For as long as we continue to rely and align with the dictates of any foreign coach on already made materials, we will be making the greatest mistakes of the 21st century. I think we are forgetting the root of our football, which is the local league where so many great players and I were discovered because we were given opportunities regardless of the number of times.

“If you cannot rely on your local league and make it look perfect so that the buck of your team can be sourced from it, at least 70 per cent, either for a competitive or friendly game, then that country is doomed for failure.

“It is only in this part of the world we are doing things the other way round. Everybody must remember his or her root and we must go back there. What is happening in South Africa today is an eyesore, an opener. If you keep on relying on anything foreign, believe me, one day you will fall,” he said, adding that there is nothing wrong in Rohr inviting some of the home-based players together with few of their counterparts in Europe to form the team that will play against Ukraine. After all, it is a friendly match!

“Using some of these home-based players would have been an opportunity to justify his fear on the NPFL (Nigeria Professional Football League) players if they perform abysmally. But in this case, you haven’t given them the chance, and you are already complaining. And the NFF to is not helping matter on this at all.

“For how long shall we continue to have it this way? Except if they want to tell us that nothing good can ever come out of our league, then we will know why our league was not given a look in! But I think our players need to be exposed too to get a team we all crave for,” he stated.

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