Ahmed Musa wants more Super Eagles opportunity for home-based players

Super Eagles’ forward, Ahmed Musa, has called on the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to encourage national teams coaches to look inwards for players rather than relying wholly on overseas-born players of Nigerian descent.

Musa, who a product of the moribund Nigerian youth development system, believes the Super Eagles poor performance is due the team being built on a shaky foundation. He however noted that even though overseas-born players have brought certain quality to the national teams, some of them lack the doggedness and resilience to take the country to its desired heights, while bringing in home-grown players would give the national team a solid foundation to grow.

“I want to say that we have to go back to the basics, the local league. I started from the local league and grew to play overseas.

“We have many players in the local league good enough to vie for shirts in the Super Eagles. What are they playing for if we don’t invite them to the Super Eagles. We must encourage them to get the best out of them.”

“Now, everyone wants to go to Europe because they think that the Nigerian league is not recognised by our people; that is not right.” The former Leicester city player said.

Musa urged NPFL clubs to meet their obligations to players, saying that owing their players is another way to drive them away from the system.

“Even if it is N500,000, you must pay them because they have needs to solve with the money. If they get their salary regularly, they will not think of going outside because they have everything they need here.

“When you play overseas, all you get is money, but the life is boring. Here, you have your family and friends and can manage your money well if it comes on time.”

On the Super Eagles’ recent poor performances and the dream of winning the 2024 African Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire, Musa said the target is achievable, adding, however, that Nigerians must change their attitude towards the players to get the best out of them.

“We should be encouraged to improve on our performance rather than this current type of criticism. We have young boys in the team and a lot of them cannot take the pressure. This type of criticism and the insult on Facebook and twitter has forced so many players to retire prematurely from the national team.

“The overseas-based players don’t have the resilience to withstand caustic criticism. It makes them jittery each time they come to play for Nigeria; they don’t understand the type of anger Nigerians express against them.

“Most of the fans don’t support Super Eagles because of their love for Nigeria; they support the team because of betting; if we win, they win, if we lose, their bet is cut.

“You see many people coming to our social media handles to threaten to deal with us because we cut their ticket and we must pay them for that. But before, fans loved the game because they loved the country. Nowadays, betting has spoilt that love.

“I am pleading with Nigerian fans and journalists to please take it easy with this team. Some of them cannot take the pressure, but they want to win.

“Odion Ighalo quit the Super Eagles because some people threatened to kill his family. Why would you want to kill my family because I am playing for my country? That was why he quit the national team. When you go outside the country they worship you, but when you come back home, you are treated with disdain.

“People are saying that I am too old to play for the Super Eagles. They forget that I was the youngest player in the Super Eagles when I joined the team in 2010. As a matter of fact, I played for the U-20 team, the Olympic team and the Super Eagles under one month. My first game was in Calabar where I had five minutes to express my talent and I impressed the coaches to remain in the team up to this day. I was 19 years old then.”

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