Super Eagles’ former assistant coach, Joseph Erico, has described as unfortunate the exclusion of players from the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) in the squad for the national team’s forthcoming international friendlies in London. But he enjoins Nigerians to support the team as they prepare for important qualifying games this year.
Nigeria will meet Senegal and Burkina Faso in preparatory games this month ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations and Russia 2018 World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Cameroun respectively. And for these games, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) recently released the names of players needed by the technical crew for the matches holding on March 23 and 27 in London.
FC IfeanyiUbah’s goalkeeper, Ikechukwu Ezenwa is the only home-based included in the squad.
Speaking to The Guardian at the weekend, Erico said there was no point discussing the matter since the players were the ones Coach Gernot Rohr wanted.
“Sincerely, I think those that made the list are purely at the coach’s discretion. His decision to pick players in the list may be the ones that may be useful to him for the AFCON and World Cup qualifiers. That is the way I look at it.
“His decision to me, definitely, is not fair to the players playing in the NPFL. These games are merely friendlies and not competitive matches and these would have given some of these boys leverage. But the success or failure of a team is the coach’s problem. It is his responsibility to take decision that may work for me.
“What I can say about this is that this is not good for our football. We are not treating these boys well by not giving them opportunities to develop themselves and also build their confidence,” he said.
The defunct Julius Berger Football Club of Lagos former coach said if he had the power, about four or five players would be in the list.
“I would have added three good players from our league to be part of the friendlies. But what do we do… I think that is how we want it in our country with the employment of an expatriate. We do not need to complain, we should allow the coach do his job. But if I have the power, I would have instructed him (Rohr) to include four to five players from our league,” Erico stated.