Patrick Ekeji, the former Director-General of National Sports Commission (NSC), has advised against conferment of National honours on members of the victorious Eaglets. Ekeji, himself ex-player and former coach has rather called for mentorship, to help to secure the future of the world’s soccer cadet champions.
He told newsmen in Owerri on Tuesday that he was worried about the future of the players after winning the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile. The Eaglets won the FIFA U-17 for a fifth time, with the latest being a `back to back’ victory, after an impressive outing in Chile. “Government should rather secure the future of the players through mentorship rather than awarding them the National honours.
“The whole idea of the age group championship is to bring the young players together in a sporting environment to showcase their talents. “We should be more worried about the future of these young talents and not to confer National honours on them,” he said. Ekeji wondered why most youngsters’ who started out well at age-grade categories should not sustain the momentum.
He urged the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to bring all the players together and nurture them into formidable seniors. On the current form of members of the Super Eagles, the former DG said the invitation of players who were not relevant in their clubs to the team was responsible for the present poor performance of the team.
“In Spain for example, most of the national players are still playing in their domestic leagues but in Nigeria, the case is different. “If Nigeria’s world rating must improve, we must assemble all our youthful players and nurture them to transit into the senior team,’’ he said.