When England manager, Gareth Southgate announced the list of players called into the national team, three of the boys on the list were eligible to play for Nigeria. Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Ross Barkley. It would even have been four players if Dele Alli had been match fit.
To make matters worse, Tomori who is also eligible to play for Canada said he was never approached by Nigeria and that it was thus very easy for him to take the decision to play for the Three Lions. Tomori has been on the radar for several years, he was there for the taking because he rarely had a look in into Chelsea’s first team, he was always sent out on loan.
He may have had the hopes of playing for England, but until this season when the Blues came under a transfer ban, that dream looked so far away. If Nigeria had contacted the boy there is a strong possibility that he would have jumped at the opportunity to play international football. The joy of every player is to play at the World Cup and Nigeria almost always qualify for the competition.
ALSO READ: Tammy Abraham should snub Nigeria ―Southgate
Thanks to Frank Lampard now, Fikayo Tomori and indeed, Tammy Abraham got into Chelsea’s first team. England may use them now and dump them later as they are wont to do but that won’t help Nigeria one bit because by then, they would have been ineligible to play for another country.
This will not be England’s faul nor it will be the boys’ it will be Nigeria’s and it will be our loss. Nigeria’s FA are never proactive, they are always reactive. Our officials appear more interested in how much they can make from players than how much effort they should put in getting good players for the national team.
We will be running after players who cannot get into proper teams, that is why we have players like Leon Balogun who can’t even make Brighton’s first team, Kelechi Iheanacho who is a reserve at Leicester and Odeon Ighalo who is playing in China and we will be praying to do well in competitions. That’s how our supporters club will be singing “he is a miracle working God” in competitive matches.
ALSO READ: Tammy Abraham won’t play for Nigeria ―Ikpeba
Our FA should make the national teams attractive to potential players, officials should stop asking players or their parents for egunje before inviting them to play for their country.
We have respected ex-players who have excelled in European leagues, get them to form a crew with the instructions and target to recruit players of Nigerian descent plying their trades in Europe. Convince them to play for the Super Eagles. We should not wait until other countries snatch them up and then we will be lamenting on what could have been.
Nigeria has Kanu Nwankwo, JJ Okocha, Daniel Amokachie, Sunday Oliseh, Finidi George, among others who have done well in their careers and command respect internationally. These guys can go around seducing potential players. Make money available for them, let them travel and speak to these guys.
ALSO READ: Nigeria never in my plans ―Tammy Abraham
This crew can work together with the recruiting team in Nigeria who will be watching for great talents in the domestic league. A combination of this can only make the Super Eagles super again. We should not always ask what we can get from our country, we should also ask ourselves what we can do for our country.