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Super Eagles: Poor display by Nigeria’s foreign stars disappoint fans, pundits

Nigerians are again not happy with the performances of Super Eagles players for the national team.

The Super Eagles team is blessed with high-quality players that play for top clubs in Europe’s top-five leagues (Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1).

They also do excellently well at their respective clubs, but the reverse is the case when they play for the national team.

Just last year, the Super Eagles failed to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar after losing to the Black Stars of Ghana in the qualifiers.

Also, they failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON, round of 16 stages in Cameroon.

The Super Eagles, under the former interim boss, Austin Eguavoen, crashed out of the 2021 AFCON in Cameroon after losing 1-0 to Tunisia in the last-16.

The team received heavy criticism for their display in recent competitions from Nigerians, fans, pundits and former players.

DAILY POST reports that the disparity in performances of Super Eagles stars in Europe and Nigeria has been a major challenge in recent years.

Speaking with DAILY POST, Isa Saleh Sadiq, a Football Scout and the CEO of International Football Academy based in Northern Nigeria, said, “The reason you see that most of these Super Eagles players do not do well in our national team and when they go to their club sides they play well and even make noise everywhere, It is very simple.

The Super Eagles team is blessed with high-quality players that play for top clubs in Europe’s top-five leagues (Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1).

They also do excellently well at their respective clubs, but the reverse is the case when they play for the national team.

“You see, when you come home, you need to feel at home but do our players get that? That is the first question. Also, before they wear this national team jersey, there are so many things they pass through which I don’t think I will start to disclose to you.

“You have to do your research on that. You see all these players that are representing our national team, they are trying their best. They are trying their best, but what do we lack? We lack encouraging them, inspiring them, motivating them, and making them feel at home. We lack that. The NFF doesn’t have that, they may even tell you we have invited you and if you don’t come, we will invite another player.

“There are so many things involved, and look at their club sides, when you are playing well, they will encourage you and inspire you to do more than what you are doing. If it is money that is your problem, they will give you money and increase your salary. If you have any psychological challenges and they study you and find out yes you have a psychological problem, they will solve it for you.

“That is how you get a good player. That is how you get talent and skills out of a player. But when you come home, they start discouraging you, they start telling you that you are playing for your country, there is no money and you have to play your best whether they give you money or not you have to play your best, they don’t have to tell a player such.

“These players you are seeing are trying their best, but when they come home, rather than encourage them, they discourage them. If you play for the national team, how much do they pay? If you can remember, some of the players even paid for their flight ticket to the camp. A few months ago or last year, people were complaining about that. If you invite a player, the player would have to pay for his flight ticket to come to the camp. It is unfair to the players.

“When you invite a player, there is a way you have to package that player despite the fact that he is a world-class player. He is coming home. He needs to feel he is at home. There are certain things you have to do so that the players will get motivated and even admit that the national team did them well.

“But if you fail to do them well, inside the pitch, the players would say to themselves if they get an injury, they will not collect their salary or bonus from their club side. They are thinking about their club side, not the national team. But look at the concept of white people. They are totally different.

“Even when they are playing for their national team, they put their hundred percent effort because they do them well. That is the reality. When you encourage them, they will do well.

“So the only thing I can advise is ‘let the NFF try and encourage these players’. Money may encourage a player, but you have to do certain things that even if you give the player that money, he would not take it. There are so many things you can do for a player when you give him money, he would say no, I would not accept it, I would play with all my heart. That is one thing we have to understand in the NFF. Look at even when the NFF is inviting players, they would invite 50 players, and some of these players would bribe before they even put their name in the invitation.”

Also speaking with DAILY POST, “Bill Onuegbu, Ecomog FC captain, said, “Most Super Eagles players are world-class as we can see in their respective clubs. Victor Osimhen, for example, is arguably the best striker in the world right now. Lookman is doing great at Atalanta. Iwobi has been carrying Everton on his shoulders, so most of the players are world-class. There is a lot of quality in the Super Eagles, but the structure of the team is the reason most of the players don’t produce a result. We have leaders in the NFF who don’t understand the game and how to manage a team that has so much talent.”

Similarly, Mighty Boys FC winger, Obasi Patrick told DAILY POST, “The reason Super Eagles players are not doing well in the national team compared to their club sides is that they don’t get paid well, but when they go out to their club sides, they are motivated to play well than playing for Nigeria.

“The players do not get encouragement because people don’t even come out en-masse to watch their performance while playing in the stadium.”

On his part, Idris Musa Adinoyi, Dawaki Rangers FC captain, told DAILY POST, “The performances of any team is a combined effect of the cumulative individual performances which transforms into results.

“For this to be realised, the team needs to instil the desire and hunger to fight for each other as a single unit and show that on the pitch. This is where the management aspect of the team comes into play as they are in charge of the selection of the players, which is mostly performance-based, as well as the team’s approach or tactics to whichever game they play. Nigeria, as a footballing nation, is highly blessed with talents which are evident across the world.

“However, talents alone should not be a yardstick for the selection of national team representatives. Rather, commitment, togetherness and hunger to preserve and protect the national team’s interest towards fostering growth, as well as improved performances. Whether plying their trade across Europe or within the NPFL, when it comes to the national team, it will be down to a different coach and management to ensure that the team plays as a single unit and superbly at their best.

“The realisation of this over the past couple of matches has been non-evident from the national team, which has translated to a poor run of results.

“When a team puts up outstanding performance, the coach and the management get most of the plaudit. Likewise, when the team plays dreadfully, the coach and management are not excused from the bullet either.”

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