By Fidelis Ebu
Nigeria Football Federation yesterday frowned at U-23 coach Austin Eguavoen for relying so much on foreign-based players in his campaign to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Apparently considering the financial implication of importing foreign-based professionals and the need to develop local players, NFF said that they expected the two months of camping that has gulped huge sum of money to yield results.
Ademola Olajire, NFF Chief Media Officer said that the federation’s Technical committee was not happy with Eguavoen for his over reliance on foreign-based pros.
“He (Austin Eguavoen) should look inward in the domestic league for talents. He has spent over two months in camp and should work hard to get talents from the home-league instead of depending solely on foreign-based pros”, Ademola Olajire said yesterday.
Olajire’s reaction came against the backdrop of Eguavoen’s request for approval for the inclusion of 12 foreign-based pros in the team for this weekend’s return leg against the Equatorial Guinea in Malabo. The Nigerian team beat their counterparts 5-0 in the first leg in Benin City.
“He has been in camp with home-based players and we wonder why he wants 12 foreign-based players for the return leg of a match that is as good as won”, Olajire wondered.
Lukman, Aluko out of Malabo clash
Captain Haruna Lukman and Omatsone Aluko will not be involved for Nigeria when the Olympic team take on Equatorial Guinea in the second leg of their Olympic qualifier this weekend.
Also unavailable is Okeychukwu Uchebo, who had flight difficulties, according to coach Austin Eguavoen.
“Uchebo would have been here for the Malabo game but he could not get a connecting flight, so we have decided to leave him out for the game against Equatorial Guinea but he will be available for the game in Monrovia,” Eguavoen said.
“as for the team captain Haruna Lukman, he was eager to come for the game but his club needed him for this weekend’s game against Lille in the French League.”
Club commitments with Aberdeen are also the reason Aluko will not make the dead rubber, after the Nigerians coasted to a 5-0 first leg win.
But officials say the forward is expected to be available for the All Africa Games qualifier against Liberia.
There is good news regarding the other foreign-based players, as six are in camp with the squad preparing to leave for Malabo on Friday.