One time Green Eagles captain , Stephen Keshi, says Nigeria could â€œproduce more Okochas from the local league.â€
Keshi who is the coach of Mali spoke with us in a lengthy discussion that touched largely on the 2010 World Cup in South Africa .
Ghana picked the ticket from Mali â€™s group but they have a chance to play in the Nations Cup if they do well in the remaining matches.
Keshi was not happy that the 2-2 draw Eagles played with Tunisia
in Abuja is tearing the Nigerian team apart.
Mikel Obi had openly quarreled with the defenders in the dressing room for the poor defensive play that led to Tunisia â€™s equalizer.
Coach Amodu had also blamed the players for allowing their 2-1 lead to slip just two minutes to full time.
The players themselves admitted blowing the match, saying that they were not brilliant enough. But more bashing have come from concerned Nigerians including ex internationals and coaches. Keshi says the controversy in such a situation was understandable but added that it was wrong for fellow coaches to condemn their colleague publicly. He also said that rather than quarrel among themselves the players should hold talks and vow to win the remaining matches.
â€œThis is the time to say to say â€˜gentlemen, we can still make it.â€™ The Eagles need everybodyâ€™s support, this is no time to be apportioning blames.â€
When he heard that part of the problem with Eagles play is that they rarely play simple football (one touch play) and that many of the players lack aggression as they always like to be play makers in the mould of Okocha he reacted this way: â€œCourtesy of Supersport, we have watched many league matches in Nigeria and as bad as many think the league is, there are many Okochas in the league. Why would the players want to play like Okocha? Everybody has his own potential, his own qualities.
It is wrong to want to be another person. What I know is that there are good players in the Nigerian league and we can build from our local league.â€
Revelino Valere, one time captain of defunct ACB who is one of Keshiâ€™s assistants agreed with him on the talents who can be nurtured fromÂ Â Nigeria â€™s domestic league.
National team coaches, from Amodu Shuaibu to his assistants, rarely watch the domestic league largely because there are no provisions for that from the federation.