By KATE OBODO
Warri Wolves Football Club Director, Edema Fuludu has said that the present Super Eagles players do not deserve the Confederation of African Football, CAF award which comes up later in December in Accra, Ghana.
CAF during the week short-listed players for the 2011 CAF African Footballer of the Year Award with no Nigeria named. The former Eagles player said no Nigerian player merited the list as they have not proved themselves both in their clubs and in their country.
Speaking with Sunday Vanguard Sports via telephone, Fuludu said, “I’m not surprised because in the past few years we have not been rated among the top 10 players to win the CAF award. This shows that their performance have not been fantastic. Even in their various clubs, they are not the best treated African players. So, it is glaring that our standard has dropped completely and we need to raise our standard before we can start talking of competing for the CAF Award.
It is not enough playing in Sunderland or West Brom. For them to get to that level, they should be playing in big clubs, that are involve in the Champions League, that is where players are rated high. Talking about clubs like AC Milan, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Chelsea even Mikel Obi who is in Chelsea is not playing like someone who is playing in a big club, his performance there does not speak well of him. You cannot rate Mikel, Yakubu
Aiyegbeni amongst those African players who play in Europe very well, no!”
Continuing, he said, “If a player must be listed for the CAF Award, his performance must be able to speak loud for him. He also must play in big clubs, he must also help his country in competitions especially to achieve something tangible like the Nations Cup qualifiers which our players also contributed in making the country fail.”
“I pray we go back to the glory days when players came from the grass-root got to a level in Europe and performed brilliantly and were rated amongst the best in Africa. When Nwankwo Kanu won the award in 2000, he was winning for Ajax, Inter Milan and also won for his country in the Atlanta 1996 Olympics. His performance spoke volumes for him and he was not looked down on. Even Samuel Eto’O, despite the fact that his country did not qualify for the Nations Cup, he was also short-listed because his performance in his club side is well recognized in the world and in Africa.
“Let us pray for our players. I have also said it that, sacking of coaches is not our problem but only if we can go back to the basics and work on our football, especially the league.
At least, let every club in the Nigerian league have a feeder team, that is how clubs raise players for the future. The NFF and NPL should be able to implement such decisions so that we can get great players for the nearest future. I think this will go a long way,” he concluded.