- All NPFL teams won in Africa
- Unuanel in awe of the Nigerian trio
- Says Nigeria could have qualified for Qatar 2022
WHAT HAPPENED?: Inspired by the performances of Nigerian clubs in Caf-interclub competitions over the weekend, the veteran Nigerian coach stated the Super Eagles would have booked a place in Qatar 2022 if local-based professionals were combined with foreign-based stars during the qualification series. Plateau United and Rivers United secured comeback victories over Esperance and Wydad Casablanca in the Caf Champions League, while Kwara United produced a shock 3-1 triumph over reigning Confederation Cup champions RS Berkane in Lagos.
WHAT HE SAID: In a chat with GOAL, Unuanel claimed the Nigerian sides proved that the country's top-flight boasts quality players that can make the Super Eagles stronger.
“It was a great weekend for Nigerian football because many must have written our teams off owing to the calibre of opposition they were going to face.
“However, the three teams got the job done despite conceding first. What we need to take home from the performance of Rivers United, Plateau United and Kwara United is that the Nigeria Professional Football League is blessed with great players who can make the Super Eagles squad.
“Trust me, the success of Jose Peseiro is based on the amount of local based professionals who are in his team. If there was a blend of foreign-based talents and NPFL stars, Nigeria would not have missed out on the 2022 World Cup.”
Despite winning the first leg, the former Enyimba handler has advised on what the three teams must do to earn a ticket to the next round of their respective tournaments.
He added: "A win is a win regardless of the margin. What guarantees you that our teams won’t also get a great result away from home? My advice is that they should not be wasteful in front of goal and stay focused for the entire duration. With that, they will be a sure candidate for the next round.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Barring any setbacks in the reverse fixture, Nigeria can parade three teams in Africa. Remo Stars bowed out in the first round of the Caf Confederation Cup.
IN THREE PHOTOS:LMCBackpagepixNFF
DID YOU KNOW? Enyimba are the only team from Nigeria to have won the Caf Champions League, while no Nigerian team has won the Confederation Cup since its inception.
WHAT NEXT FOR NPFL TEAMS? Rivers United square up against Wydad AC in the second round with Plateau United trying Esperance de Tunis for size. In the Confederation Cup. Kwara United would be hoping to negotiate their way past Morocco’s RS Berkane.