Former National U-23 team coach, Imama Amakpakabo says players in the Nigerian Professional Football League, NPFL, do not have enough qualities to play for the Super Eagles.
In an exclusive chat with The Athletic NG, coach Imama said Nigeria’s best players are not found in the NPFL.
The statement follows recent comments by the NFF President, Amaju Pinnick that Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr must begin to watch NPFL matches with a view to identifying players he can call up to play in the national team.
“We should forget about running away from the truth. If you tell the people a lie for a very long time, they tend to believe the lie.
“Do an assessment, who are the players in the league that can compare with the players in Europe right now? Whichever we have right now that is doing very well in the league, in the next three months is going to be in Europe,” he said.
The former Rangers of Enugu gaffer said the concern should be on why many of the country’s players are always leaving the shores of Nigeria at every given opportunity.
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“The players that play in North Africa and South Africa, when they go out to Europe and it doesn’t work out they still go back to their leagues, why are our players not interested in coming back to our league?
“How many players that left Akwa United and things didn’t work out well for them in Europe, how many of them have come back to the club?”
The former assistant to coach Rohr also lamented that the league has failed to produce any quality player that can compete with their counterparts from Europe.
“In the last five years, go back and do a study, where are the players coming out from? They are coming from the academy. We’re selling players direct from kindergarten to Europe because academy as far as my definition says is like a kindergarten school. We’re not selling players from our league to Europe.
“So let us first look at that angle, why is it that the Europeans have not come to our league to look for players? Look at the current Super Eagles players, it is only Etebo and Ezenwa that played in our league, the rest like Ndidi and Chukwueze were all gotten from the academies. So these are things that we see that shows that there is a serious fundamental problem.”
On the recent statement made by table-topping Plateau United coach, Abdu Maikaba that the League Management Company (LMC) should hand over the title to his team if they cannot continue with the league due to the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic, Amakpakabo stressed the importance of being careful with critical decisions like this.
“If it has happened once, why can’t it happen again? Well, it’s the wisdom of the organizers of the league, I think they should look for the best possible way out of the situation we have found ourselves and tackle the situation.
“But I think whatever they decide to do, let them not forget it’s not only about the league leaders, it’s also about the teams below. Teams have to be relegated and some teams have to come up. So whatever decision is taken, let it be for the interest of football in the country,” he concluded.