Former Nigeria international striker Daniel Amokachi has challenged the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to return to developmental structures that saw the team reach greater heights.
Of late, the Super Eagles have often relied on dual-eligible players who were born abroad. Ola Aina, Joe Aribo, Calvin Bassey, William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun and Ademola Lookman were some of the players who opted to play for Nigeria and were involved as the country was knocked out of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers by Ghana.
The now 49-year-old Amokachi went on to laud the late Stephen Keshi, who opted to use the players bred in Nigeria and went on to lift the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations title.
Amokachi told SuperSport:
Quality-wise we can’t take it away from Nigeria. Every day Nigeria is blessed with one immigrant player who is playing out there and he’ll always come up and say I turned down my birth country, I want to play for Nigeria when their country of birth never looked for them. They won’t even make their birth nation squads.
Unfortunately for us Nigeria, we’ve thrown away our developmental structure which we had that made us win the 1996 Olympics gold medal, that made that generation so great.
Stephen Keshi came into play and revived it and we saw how we won the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
Football in Nigeria and Africa is a religion. If we don’t have a player like Osimhen who hawked pure water on the Third Mainland bridge, you can see that’s the way he plays, he knows what it takes to play for Nigeria. That’s why he’s running 24/7 to make us win.
And then you have players who grew up outside the shores of Nigeria that don’t know what it takes to wear the national colours in the World Cup, it is different.
Several of the players have not been to the World Cup, they don’t know what it is. 99 percent of those players haven’t even felt the Nigerian stadium filled up like the way it was filled up.