The newly elected NNF president Ibrahim Gasau said Nigerian players born abroad don’t have the mentality to play African football. In his assertion, the NFF chairman noted that the home-based system should be prioritized and that he has been working with the local coaches to ensure this is achievable.
The chairman in his interview said:
“We rely so much on the foreign players. We have to because you and I know that our league is not where it ought to be. So, we cannot rely on players that one is not sure of, and one can only be sure of players you see performing in his club week in and week out.
“I have been trying to see how they (coaches) can get some players from the domestic league, but there are arguments they put on the table that one cannot dispute. They say if they invite a home-based player for an international match, and he does well, a few months later he would become a foreign player. Then start searching for another one to fit in who will also travel abroad after two or three matches.
“As for me, what we should do is try and see how we can reduce the number of Nigerian born diaspora players in the team. I am not saying they’re not Nigerians nor saying they’re not good enough, but their mentality is not good for African football. And most of the matches we played were in Africa. At the global level, we only go for tournaments or friendly matches. But all our qualifiers are played within Africa.
“Most of these teams out of 54 countries in Africa, almost 46 countries, use the bulk of African players. So many of them use players who are used to African football with the right mentality of African football. So, if we bring in players born abroad without an African mentality, there will be problems. But we don’t have a problem with players who are born here and are playing in Europe because they started here.” he concluded.