Super Eagles captain, Ahmed Musa, has called for the inclusion of home-based players in the Nigerian national team, adding that there are lots of quality players in the Nigerian league.
The 31-year-old stated that players plying their trade in the Nigerian Premier Football League (NPFL) have the quality to represent the country, adding that the players being ignored have contributed to the trend of players moving to Europe.
He also recalled the contribution of home-based players to Nigeria’s last triumph at the Nations Cup in 2013, where Sunday Mba (a home-based player) scored the only goal in the final against Burkina Faso to hand Nigeria her third AFCON title.
He made this known during the public launch of the ‘Let’s Do It Again campaign’, ahead of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast next year.
His words: “In 2013, before our semifinal match against Ivory Coast, our return tickets had since been secured because nobody believed we could go there and beat Ivory Coast, which paraded the fearsome Didier Drogba, Yahaya and Kolo Toure, Solomon Kalou, and a host of others.
“They were called the ‘golden generation’ of Ivorian football. We had seven home-based players in the squad, with five of them in the starting lineup. But because the chief coach, the late Stephen Keshi, Da Bull Amokachi, and Sylvanus Okpala, believed in us, we achieved the impossible.
“So we need to go back to that starting point where we have our league. I started in the local league. If nobody believed in me, I wouldn’t be where I am today. We have a lot of players in the domestic league.
“If the home-based players are being ignored for national duties, what are they playing for? We are not encouraging them. That is why everybody wants to go to Europe. They feel that Nigerian football is no longer interesting.
“But for me, remember, I returned to Kano Pillars. Even if they are paid N500,000, they will stay and play here, where they can always see their families and be happy.”
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