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AFCON 2017 S/Eagles team list: I don’t envy Keshi– Onigbinde

Festus Onigbinde
Festus Onigbinde

Former Super Eagles Coach, Adegboye Onigbinde, Wednesday, expressed sympathy for Stephen Keshi, the Head Coach of the Super Eagles over the selection of players for the team.

Onigbinde who said in Abuja that his pity for Keshi was necessitated by the low standard of the country’s leagues, noted that the Nigeria Premier League, the Nigeria National League and the Nigeria Nationwide League were supposed to be the reservoir for the country’s national teams.

“I have my pity for Keshi, where does he get the players from? From where, tell me. What is the quality of our league matches today and that is why people are not watching our league matches. In those days, if you hated Shooting Stars FC, you will want to watch Mudashiru Lawal, Awosu, Odegbami; where are players of those qualities today, so what are we going there to watch. Because we are not developing; the raw talents are there but there is no administrative structure to make us identify those players and polish them into stars,” Onigbinde said.

According to him, the leadership of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) should set-up a functional technical department for a proper grassroots football development, just as he urged them to do the basic things to enable Keshi to succeed in his current position.

“For instance, we have six geo-political zones in this country that means we have at least six states in each geo-political zone,” he said, adding, “The population of the smallest six states in Nigeria will be greater than the population of about 40 countries in Africa and when we want to play against Gabon and the rest, we begin to fright.

“What is the population of Cape Verde, less than half a million; they are ahead of us in FIFA ranking. Why is it not possible for one state in Nigeria to raise a team that can represent Nigeria? Because the developmental structure is not there; are they (players) going to come from heaven?”

Onigbinde urged the NFA to ensure that every local area in the country had a formidable football team, which he stressed, would help the NFA monitor and select quality players from the local government areas to the states, zones and national level.

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