“I need to call the attention of the NFF to the fact that Super Eagles players across the world need proper monitoring. They need to carryout their activities in the knowledge of the big assignment before them. For those playing in the country, we have to take cognizance of their attitude to training, fitness level, lifestyle and emotional health. For those abroad, we need to reach out to them and make sure all is well with them. This approach is called success beyond training.”
Those were the words of former Green Eagles winger, Adegoke Adelabu, in his response to The Guardian yesterday on how the Super Eagles can avoid early exit at the World Cup holding in Russia.
Adelabu, a member of the NFF Technical Study Group said: “Also, we need to monitor the scoring ability of our strikers and the creative potential of our midfielders in various clubs. We should be able to compare them favourably with their counterparts across the world. I am not saying they should play like them, but in terms of work rate and tactical endurance, those players and goalkeepers going to the world cup should by now be upgrading their performances.
“Every player going to the world cup must have something unique that is going to keep him in the team, and it is the combination of these unique qualities that will enable the coach to bring about the marriage of players in team selection
“The monitoring aspect is to give the coaches the opportunity to see the players in their natural environment (their clubs) and under match condition, so that by the time they resume camping, we will use the friendly matches as diagnostic tools to know areas to be strengthened or fortified tactically and technically. There may be one or two players having domestic problems with respect to their marriages or personal lives; we need to provide a forum for such players so that we can give them the right counsel. I have the professional competence to assist such players if the need arises. We have to let the players feel special so that we can position them psychologically to get the best out of them at the World Cup,” he stated.
Adelabu, a former player of the then IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan also stated that he was tired of seeing players like Messi and Ronaldo holding the whole world of football to ransome.
“These players only concentrated on what they know how best to do on the pitch. Where are the stars in our country? Football has its own language. We need to ask ourselves whether our players are playing football for a living or they are playing their lives as football. Human potentials are limitless depending on our readiness to explore them. We need to do something about our training standard and coaching philosophy.”
Adelabu, a sports scientist and former General Manager of Eko United FC of Lagos, has rubbished comments by some Nigerians that there is quota system in selection of players.
“I keep hearing that the selection of the national team and even the choice of coaches are based on quota system. This should not be the case at all. The important thing is for every potential player to be given a chance to prove himself or herself.
“If you take a cursory look at the history of Nigeria great teams, both at the national and club levels, there was this natural selection process that ensures that a team of thirty players will comprise of almost the players from each geo-political zone and different states.
“A couple of years ago, when I discussed this concept in a forum, even John Fashanu was quick to agree with me that he discovered such trend during his tour of football tournament across Nigeria and I specifically told my audience the state or geo-political zone that the players that will play in each field position in the national team will come from, depending on the ability of the scouts to discover these players or recognise the uniqueness of their potentials. This is called environmental determinism.
“Hence, there is no point forcing any player on the coach for the purpose of quota system. When they are exposed to well structured training and tactical situations, the best players will emerge,” he stated.