'Super Eagles call-up is 'oyibo' oriented' - NPFL chief Owumi says nobody cares to look at home-based playersPublished: November 20, 2023
Former Nigerian League top scorer, Davidson Owumi, who is currently the Chief Operating Officer of the NPFL, has faulted the non-invitation of several home-based players to Nigeria's senior national team.
For the recently concluded November internationals, Super Eagles manager Jose Peseiro called up only two home based players in the shape of Enyimba's Olorunleke Ojo and Bendel Insurance's Amos Obasogie, who made the squad only after the withdrawal of Maduka Okoye.
However, the Portuguese invited the two goalkeepers for the sake of it as the duo remained rooted to the bench for the back-to-back World Cup qualifying matches against Lesotho and Zimbabwe.
Owumi noted that the Super Eagles coaches, these days, are prioritizing the invitation of foreign-based players over players in the domestic championship unlike during Stephen Keshi's tenure as coach.
Of the 23 players who were part of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations-winning squad, six were home-based players, namely Ejike Uzoenyi (Rangers), Sunday Mba (Rangers), Chigozie Agbim (Rangers), Godfrey Oboabona (Sunshine Stars), Reuben Gabriel (Kano Pillars) and Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves).
2013 AFCON-winning coach Keshi also picked eight home-based players for the 2013 Fifa Confederations Cup and four Nigerian League stars for the 2014 World Cup.
Speaking to Channels TV Sports on Sunday, Owumi said: "Every season the best crop of players move out, the highest goalscorers move out in droves, it is economic related.
"Saudi Arabia is not the best footballing country in the world but today you can see that the best players in the world are in Saudi Arabia because of the economy.
"The orientation of the Super Eagles handlers for the past six, seven years is oyibo oriented, export oriented.
"Nobody cares to look at the home-based players. The last coach that did it was Keshi and he got the reward.
"There is a big difference between African football and European football. You must have that idea to inject the home-based players, try them and see.
"You don't have a blanket cover and say the home based players are not good, because of that you can invite 40 players to come and play against Togo".
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