By Eddie Akalonu
Super Eagles coach Samson Siasia has been urged to build a formidable team from players playing in the local league to free the country from being held hostage by foreign-based players.
Former coach of Iwuanyanwu Nationale Football Club of Owerri, Tony Ukeachu, who said this, listed ways by which the Bayelsa-born tactician could succeed as he begins to builds a team for friendly games ahead of the Obama invitational tournament in the United States.
According to Ukeachu, the “first thing Siasia needs to do is work towards building a formidable team for the country. The players are there for him to use and make an impression that truly reflects the country’s football strength.
“He has to identify them wherever they are, gather them and then work on them. I believe he should first build a team from the players in our local league,”he said.
Siasia and the team are playing against Guatemala in a friendly next month before going to the US for the Obama tourney. Ukeachu was glad Siasia already has gathered known names spiced with home-based players.
“It’s a good starting point, we have been advocating that national coaches look inwards because local players need recognition and the very moment we are able to compose formidable teams from local talents, then we can free ourselves from incessant hostage by foreign-based players. What Siasia needs to do is just to be positive, enthusiastic and have a clear direction of where he wants to go with the team.
‘’He can rely on specific league club coaches to help him identify some of the brilliant players that have caught their eyes in local league,” the Enyimba coach said.
Speaking from the perspective of an ex-player, (former captain of Spartans of Owerri in the good 1970s when local teams as Rangers, IICC Shooting Stars and Stores ruled the soccer scene) Ukeachu, who now spends time developing youth teams at the grassroots, added a note of warning, “ but I am wary of those mischief-makers around football. They call themselves managers and agents.
Siasia must have the ability to take decisions of his own, but in consultation with those working with him, show maturity at all times and avoid allowing opportunistic players from the agents who cluster his team because they are spoilers. He should also try to fend off undue pressure from whatever quarters they come from,” he added.