By Emmanuel Aziken, Abuja
Members of the Senate committee on Sports have expressed joy in Nigeriaâ€™s qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup but have called for a total overhaul of the team and its technical crew to enable a worthy outing in South Africa.
The committee members including Senators Ganiyu Solomon and Osita Izunaso were joined by some football buffs in the Senate chamber in appraising Nigeriaâ€™s qualification and potentials for the Football Mundial in 2010.
Senator Patrick Osakwe,Â proprietor of the now defunct Flash Flamingoes FC and Senator James Manager, erstwhile commissioner for Sports in Delta State were among the football aficionados in the Senate who echoed the call of members of the Senate committee on Sports.
â€œThe team should be overhauled, we should think of promoting the U-20 to Super Eagles while injecting very few players. We shouldnâ€™t take such lack luster team to South Africa as we should not forget that Nigeria is the leading football nation in Africa and so the whole world will be watching our performance,â€™â€™ Senator Izunaso told Sports Vanguard at the weekend.
Expressing dissatisfaction with the performance of the team even while lauding their qualification, Senator Manager asked that old and tired legs should be rested in favour of younger and faster players.
â€œI think what is important is to do a total overhauling, old players should be shown the way out even though we thank them for their contribution, but they should be asked to go so that we can look for young talented footballers,â€™â€™ Manager said.
In his own comment Senator Osakwe owner of the defunct Benin based Division One club, Flash Flamingoes FC said:
â€œWe should get a good technical adviser because we are technically deficient, that is our problem and once that is done I think we should be ok. I am not insisting he should necessarily be a foreigner.â€™â€™
Senator Solomon while lauding the team for qualifying, however, put the qualification on luck, adding however, that luck would not count much at the Mundial.
â€If we want to do well in South Africa, we would need more than luck so the issue of skill, organisationÂ andÂ early preparation must be emphasized,â€™â€™ Senator Solomon said.â€œAs we speak everything that has to be done should startÂ now.
We mustÂ work24/7 now. There is no roomÂ for respite because we have not done much with preparation.â€™â€™
Senator Solomon also noted that the technical crew must be overhauled to enable a satisfactory participation.
Senator Manager on his part also called for the abandonment of the politics of selecting players to reflect federal character.
â€œThere should be no discrimination and there should be nothing like federal character. If all the players can come from a State and are the best to represent Nigeria they should be selected. The politics in the football industry must stop and anybody who can do us proud should be fielded.
This is the first time the football world cup is being hosted in Africa and the greatest country in Africa must be prepared for it,â€™â€™ he said.
The chairman of the Senate committee on sports, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri could not be reached as at the time of this report.