‘Sad’ 2017-18 ending robbed NPFL players potential Nigeria call-ups - Henry Nwosu

Comments (0)
Junior Lokosa
Several players dropped out of the Super Eagles’ squad for Saturday’s tie, and Nwosu believes it would've been an opportunity for home-based players
Nigeria Professional Football League players would have stood a chance to make their marks in Super Eagles’ 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifying tie against Seychelles had the 2017-18 season not ended abruptly, says Henry Nwosu.

Reserve goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa was the only home-based player included in Gernot Rohr’s 24-man list , and despite several withdrawals due to injury concerns, it is hard to make a case for the inclusions of more.

Arsenal midfielder Alex Iwobi, Torino’s Ola Aina and Udinese centre-back William Troost-Ekong recently pulled out of the country’s clash against the Pirates on Saturday.

And the former midfielder believes the domestic players suffered from the League Management Company’s decision to end a regular season with 14 games to go - an offshoot of the leadership tussle in the Nigeria Football Federation.

“It’s just sad because if the league was on, we’ll have seen a few of them and they would have been invited because since we have some of our players dropping from the national team,” Nwosu told Goal .

“This would have been a good opportunity for home-based players to come and execute their skills and determination. But unfortunately, this break in the Nigerian league is affected us a lot.

“And the boys, I’m sure they’re not happy because they are not playing regularly again. So, how can you invite somebody who is not playing regularly, who is not even playing friendly games.”

Captain John Obi Mikel was excused from the initial set-up due to an injury concern - a similar case to Nigeria’s Afcon qualifier opener which ended 2-0 in favour of South Africa.

However, the former midfielder believes the loss of the Tianjin Teda midfielder is not an excuse for another failure, while tipping Porto B's prospect Kelechi Nwakali to step up.

“It is a must-win for Nigeria because we didn’t do well in the first game,” he continued.

“This would go a long way in helping us achieve our aim of qualifying if we should win. So, I expect us to go all out in this game to see that victory is achieved.

“That Mikel is not there does not mean that we cannot perform or we cannot play and our players should win. It’s possible. We can play to win. But first and foremost, we must get together the boys, our boys playing regularly both locally and outside.

“Kelechi, as far as I’m concerned, has been a very good player. He just needs to be given that chance to get more games and get more mature because, with the games, you get more mature.

Article continues below

“If you’re not playing games, there’s no how you get more mature. I remember when I was invited in 1980, I wasn’t that mature but with games that I was playing, I became a more mature player and the scouts came looking for me. So, let us give him that chance.

“As far as he’s still doing well now and he’s playing in Europe, let’s give him that chance and support him as well and I believe the sky will be his limit,” he concluded.