Former Nigerian international, Gbenga Ogunbote, has urged Super Eagles of Nigeria Chief Coach, Gernot Rohr, to include more Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) players in the present national team squad, stating that they deserve equal treatment with foreign-based professionals.
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Rohr had previously defended his reluctance towards using home-based players for international matches, claiming the country’s best talents are based abroad. With Katsina United’s shot-stopper, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, the only home-based regular in the senior team, Ogunbote who manages NPFL side, Lobi Stars FC of Makurdi, feels players from the domestic league deserve the chance to fight for shirts in the national team fold.
If they say the league can’t produce top-class players for the national team, we have to first deal with the segregation. That is very important because every coach knows what works for him. We have done it before, and we had results. What you need to do is to give them a room to express themselves, create room for doubt but make sure they get equal opportunities like the overseas-based players…And more importantly, they deserve equal treatment and respect you give to overseas-based playersGbenga Ogunbote
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Home-based professionals in the past like Sunday Mba who scored Nigeria’s only goal in the 1-0 Africa Cup of Nations final match against Burkina Faso in 2013, Godfrey Oboabona, Reuben Gabriel, Azubuike Egwuekwe, and Ejike Uzoenyi all proved instrumental to the success of the Nigerian national team under late Stephen Keshi. Since taking over the reigns as Super Eagles manager in 2016, Rohr has relegated home based professionals, something Ogunbote hopes will change once Rohr renews his contract with the three-time African champions.
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