Forget Eagles if you’re not first team player — Oliseh
Sunday Oliseh, a former Super Eagles coach, is worried over what he tagged as the ‘fallen profile of the senior national team Super Eagles’, saying that the 1994 African Champions now lack quality.
The former Nigeria captain said unlike his playing days, the present Super Eagles can only boast of a handful of players featuring for top-flight European clubs.
“The demands that we have; the qualification that you have before you can play for the Super Eagles; the bar has been reduced,” Olisehe said in a television sports program with Channels Television’s.
“We, as a nation, are now happy with mediocrity. We celebrate even third place in Africa.
“When you are Nigerian, you are the best. You don’t celebrate even second.”
Oliseh scored a screamer as Super Eagles shocked Spain and the sporting Word during the France ’98 World Cup with a 3-2 win.
Two years later, Nigeria jointly hosted the Nations Cup with Ghana with the final decided in Lagos.
Painfully, Indomitable Lions of Cameroon edged Super Eagles via penalty kicks to luft the trophy, much to the consternation of Nigerians.
Oliseh would recall how sad and disappointed he felt on the night the Super Eagles lost to Cameroon on home soil.
He said playing for Nigeria should be a thing of pride, insisting that the best have to be picked for national assignments.
“That is why when I coached Super Eagles, the first thing I told them was ‘If you are not playing in the first division anywhere in the World, forget Super Eagles because the best has to play here,” the 1996 Olympic gold medalist declared.
According to him, in the past, Nigerian players faced one another in the UEFA Champions League but admitted that the situation is not the same presently, singling out Leicester City midfielder, Wilfred Ndidi as one of the few doing well at the moment.
“We don’t have a lot of top players playing at the top level at the moment.
“The most solid player we have now is Ndidi because he has got a lot as a player”, Oliseh said.
Nigeria is billed to face Crocodiles of Lesothocat the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos on March 30, 2021, the first time the three-time African champions will be playing a competitive game in the city in 20 years.
Oliseh, who captained the Super Eagles when they lost the 2000 AFCON final in Lagos, welcomes the move, describing fans in the commercial city as “demanding.”
“You have to be at your best to play there, (Lagos)”.
“There is an advantage to it. The advantage to it is that you always bring your ‘A’ game when you come to play for Nigeria and you know that you have to play well and it is not a luxury playing for Nigeria; it has to be an honour wearing the green, white green.”