Godwin Abigor, Chairman of Warri Wolves and an ardent follower of football has backed Stephen Keshi on his decision to allow more chances to the local players in subsequent matches for Eagles.
“I wanted Keshi to field the team that won the friendly match in Liberia but it was good that he has seen for himself the value of local players who are trained well,” Abigor said from Asaba.
In Rwanda, the four local players fielded saved the day for Nigeria. Ejike Uzoenyi, Azubuike Egwuekwe and Godfrey Itama played well and did better than the big names Nigeria fielded.
Abigor said further
“So many foreign-based players have disappointed us and we must begin to realise that African football is different. That a player is scoring in Europe doesn’t mean he will fit into our game. I don’t have anything against any player in Europe.
The hungry and determined ones can be invited but Zambia have proved that players can be developed and nurtured in Africa. I’m absolutely sure that if Keshi fielded the team that beat Liberia 2-0 in Rwanda he would have won the match. I support his decision but I warn that he must not crack under pressure. I know Nigerians. Many will start pleading or making a case for the pros from Europe.
Let him build his team around the local players and if there are outstanding players in Europe, he can invite them. But African football is different and he must note that in selecting his players. Those who cannot fight should be left out. Zambia won the Nations Cup because they were good fighters.
We can also build a team like that but I don’t see it succeeding if we build our team around Europe-based players. This is simply because they are not as hungry as the local players will be. Very soon, people will start calling Keshi and he may crack. That will mark the beginning of his failure. He saw what happened in Rwanda and has taken a good decision. He must not change.”