Former international, Dr Felix Owolabi, believes Super Eagles’ recent performance against the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone has shown the world that Nigeria’s football is dead.
Nigeria held Sierra Leone to a 4-4 draw in the first leg of the African Cup of Nations qualifying tie, and played out a goalless second leg in Freetown.
Speaking at the inauguration of Lagos State chapter of the Youth Sports Federation of Nigeria’s (YSFON) new executives at the weekend, Owolabi expressed dismay at the Eagles’ performance, saying it showed the urgent need to promote and organise more grassroots football programmes to unearth hidden talents.
He also stressed that the continuous neglect of home-based players by national team coaches has affected the standard of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
He said: “There is no need to start making excuses for the poor performance of the Super Eagles in the home and away game of the 2021 AFCON qualifier.
“Nigerians should understand that football in the country is dead. It is a big shame that Nigeria that has won major championships at the Junior and senior levels in the past cannot beat Sierra Leone, a country less than five million population; it is a big shame.
“During my era in the national team, home-based players were the strong force in the national team. Foreign-based players came to Nigeria to compete for shirts because outstanding players were abundant in the senior national team. I see no reason why home-based players will be integrated into the Super Eagles.”
Owolabi enjoined the new leaders of Lagos State YSFON to rally round and see that grassroots football championships are organised to revive the sprit of YSFON, which, he said, has been a viable programme that produced great talents for the country in the past.
“With the inauguration of YSFON Lagos chapter, I believe Nigeria’s football development will change.
“The programme in the past produced big stars that made their mark in Nigeria and world football. I urge the new executives to give their best by implementing good programmes to produce talents for the country,” he said.
The new members of the Lagos State YSFON board are Tajudeen Ajide (patron), Tajudeen Disu (chairman), Prince Tunde Alade (vice chairman),
Ganiyu Akanni (secretary), Aderonke Oluwatoyin Osho (assistant secretary), Mohammed Ogidi (treasurer), Bremner Alada (financial secretary), Taiwo Alimi (publicity secretary), Akeem lshola (organising secretary), Ganiyu Ajide (youth director), Sunday Eposhe (technical director), Raheem Disu (welfare officer) and Kunle Fakayejo (legal adviser).
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