HOME EAGLES FAIL TO SHOW WORLD CUP CREDENTIALS
Home Eagles fail to show World Cup credentials
By Semiu Osho
March 16, 2010 01:52AM
Nigeria Premier League players may have blown their chances of featuring in the Super Eagles World Cup plans after Niger inflicted a 2-0 defeat on our Home Eagles at the Seyni Kountche Stadium in Niamey last weekend in an African Nations Championship qualifier.
The African Nations Championship is a tournament designed by the Confederation of African Football to showcase the talents which abound in the domestic league of its member associations. Nigeria was not represented at its inaugural edition which was held in Cote d'Ivoire last year after our squad led by coach Okey Emordi crashed out in the qualifiers. Only players playing professional football in their country's domestic league are allowed to take part in this competition.
Niger humiliated the team led by Daniel Amokachi in the first leg on Saturday in Niamey. Tales of goalkeeping errors and missed chances were attributed to our defeat.
The Home Eagles loss to Les Crocodiles, who are ranked 164 by the world football governing body, FIFA, dent huge blow to calls by Nigerian soccer fans for the inclusion of domestic league players in the main national team and that message has even been put across to the new Super Eagles coach, Sweden-born Lars Lagerback who was told he must work in Nigeria to be able to identify talents from the league.
Shuaibu Amodu, who was demoted from his post as the Eagles head coach after the Nations Cup was criticised after declaring our Premier League players were not good enough to make his squad for the continental competition and Lagerback would need to be convinced the home-based players are good enough for consideration in his squad for South Africa.
The new Eagles coach who is back in Nigeria to begin his World Cup programme saw the Premier League dominated Eagles defeat Congo DR 5-1 a fortnight ago in Abuja- less than a week after his appointment, but he refused to make early comments about their chances in his team. Lagerback however insisted there are potentials in the country.
Former Julius Berger and national team goalkeeper, Joseph Dosu said the Home Eagles' performance does not suggest they are good enough to be considered for the main Super Eagles.
“I was surprised when I saw the score line because ordinarily you wouldn't expect Nigeria to lose in such manner. The competition is considered a big opportunity for the Premier League players to show what they are capable of doing at international level and it is also expected to give them a look in at the Super Eagles level,” says Dosu who was in the Nigeria squad that won the Olympic Football gold medal in Atlanta 1996.
Dosu added: “They have a big challenge ahead of them in the second leg and should they crash out of the competition, it will be a shame and will definitely rubbish the call for their inclusion in the Super eagles team preparing for the World Cup. They will need to score three goals now to qualify and that will not be easy for them.”