Nigeria’s head coach, Gernot Rohr, insists players plying their trade in Nigeria Professional Football League must do more to break into his Super Eagles side as they near qualification for next summer’s FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Clamour for the inclusion of locally based players has been a regular feature across the Nigeria sporting sphere since Rohr became the country’s national team coach in July 2016.
Rohr has watched a handful of league games in the West African nation and handed locally based goalkeeper, Ikechukwu Ezenwa a starting berth in Nigeria’s World Cup qualifiers against Cameroon earlier this month.
The Franco-German believes the League is good but more needs to be done.
“The league is okay. If I compare to that of Burkina Faso and Gabon (where he has previously worked), it is good. But Tunisia is bit higher.
“But they (Nigerian league) have to work more in developing young players and not old players so that we will not always have to bring players from England or Germany that cannot break into their national teams,” he told Channels TV.
Reacting to comments that he is too critical of locally based players and hence do not rate them for national team appearances, Rohr said it is because the best players in this part of Africa are based in Europe.
“We have the best players in Europe. You see we played against Cameroon and not one player from their league is in the team, it means it’s not Nigeria alone.
“We have the best players in Europe who have the advantage of good finishing, good discipline and the age they declare.
The former Niger coach hopes that Nigeria will work to reposition its league after the World Cup. He carefully enumerated four factors that must be worked on.
“You must be honest with the date of birth. That is the beginning. A real age, not football age.
“Number 2, you must have a good academy.
“Number 3, you must have a good environment around you. It helps to learn the job.
“Number 4, you must have good competitions for young players. Under 13, Under 15, Under 17, Under 20. They have all that in Europe already and that’s why it is easier to succeed.”