Super Eagles don’t have naturally gifted players any more, says Nwosu
Former Nigerian Captain, Henry Nwosu, believes players of the old Green Eagles were more gifted and talented than the present crop of national team players in every department of the game.
Nwosu, who was among the squad that won the 1980 Nations Cup for the first time in Nigerian history, while extolling the virtues of his teammates 40 years after the feat, said in the 1960s, 70s and 80s most footballers that represented the country played soccer because of the love they had for the game, adding that Nigerian players these days are in football because of the money involved.
He emphasised the need for relevant stakeholders to start putting more interest in grassroots football championships to source for talents, saying it was the right place to see naturally gifted players.
Nwosu also called on young players to follow the right steps of development while aspiring to be great footballers in future.
“What made the difference in the Green Eagles of old was that all the players were passionate about football. Money was not our primary priority.
“These days, most players in the Super Eagles squad are not naturally gifted. Any player who plays football because of money cannot attain the same height with the naturally gifted ones.
“In our days, most of the players in the Green Eagles were home-based players and it was not easy for foreign-based players to break into the team because the competition was high. There were more naturally talented domestic players in the Green Eagles squad then.
“These days, we don’t have many homes grown players in the Super Eagles, which is not right as a country growing in soccer.
“For Nigeria to get it right again, more emphasis should be placed on discovering talents from the grassroots. “I was discovered from a school programme before I got to Secondary School. I captained my school team and ended up playing for the national team.
“This is how some of my other team mates were discovered. Natural talents have to be discovered from the grassroots and taught the rudiments of the game from their formative stage.
“This way it will not be easy for the foreign-based players to break into the team. The competitive spirit will be high,” he said.