EAGLES NEED TO REJUVENATE - HADJI
Newly crowned African football legend, Mustapha Hadji, has urged Nigerian football authorities to adopt a process of replacing old players in the national team for it to stay afloat again and reclaim her top position in the world football. Hadji, who was honoured along with Nigeria's former skipper, Austin Jay Jay Okocha, said Super Eagles needed the input of fresh blood, adding that with time, they would stand again as a formidable team.
Concerned about the country's inability to qualify for the 2012 Nations Cup, he said with proper planning and commitment on the part of the players, Nigeria's football misfortunes would soon be a thing of the past.
'What Nigeria is experiencing now is not new in football. It is common all over the world. There should be a developmental process where new players would be allowed to take over the place of old and injured players. Nigeria is blessed with talents. I know there are many good players in the country and everything depends on planning,' he said.
'It is rather sad that Nigeria and Cameroon will not play in the 2012 Nations Cup but mind you, that's football for you. Football is developing in Africa because countries you never heard about before are now at the forefront of top flight actions. It is a wake up call in African football and we need to rise to the challenges.
Speaking about the football development in Morocco, Hadji was elated that his country would represent Africa at the 2012 Olympic Games football tournament in London.
'We have started enjoying the fruit of football development. Our Under-23 team picked Olympic ticket. Although, the team lost to Gabon in the final but we were satisfied with their performance,'he said.'The Royal Moroccan Football Federation is keen to develop and strengthen the country's talent and qualifying for major tournaments like this one and the Olympics set this programme on sound footing. The Royal Academy is doing some fantastic work, nurturing players for competent junior sides at Under-17, Under-20 and Under-23.
This bodes well for the future of Moroccan football and l am pleased that the federation after seeing Morocco struggle a bit to reach Nations Cup finals and other major competitions has shown commitment to rebuilding Moroccan football. I am pleased to be part of this programme and believe this qualification for Olympic finals will go some way in encouraging the work currently on-going in Moroccan football development.'
Hadji was a goal-scoring attacking midfielder with great pace and skillful runs. At Coventry, he was joined by Moroccan international, Youssef Chippo, sparking a brief trend for City fans to wear fezzes to games in their honour.