By Jacob Ajom
A former Nigerian international, Micky Igbeka, has called on the Nigeria Football Federation to inject new players into theÂ national team ahead of the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations and the FIFA World Cup.
Speaking in a chat with Sports Vanguard at the weekend, the former playmaker of defunct Asabatex Football Club said the key to the teamâ€™s success at the twin events was unbiased selection of players and sound preparation
â€œThe players should be together for long before the African tournament in Angola,â€ he recommended, pointing out that the coaches should use the camping period to select the best to represent the country.
â€œTheir selection should be devoid of favouritism and I must add that the foreign-based players should merit their shirts. It should not be as automatic as it appears today.â€
Igbeka, one of the many former Nigerian internationals based in the United States, counseled coach Amodu Shaibu to involve more home-based players in the national team. â€œLocal players should be given the opportunity to fight for shirts.â€
Igbeka who is in Nigeria to bury his late mother, Mrs. Agnes Nnaemeka Igbeka, said the players must change their attitude and approach to national assignment.
He was full of praise for Lokomotive Moscow star, Osaze Odemwinge, for being outstanding each time the team played. â€œSoccer is a team game but you still have individuals with exceptional talents,” he said.
Osaze caught my eyes before I knew him. He is one player that was consistent throughout the qualifiers.â€
The former Sharks of Port Harcourt and El Kanemi Warriors player said he was presently preoccupied with his motherâ€™s burial which comes up in Asaba December 18.
â€œI would have loved to see former footballers get more involved in the administration of the game in Nigeria. That is my dream.â€