FORMER Golden Eaglets head coach Emmanuel Amunike has urged the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) to introduce new guidelines that will make it impossible for Super Eagles managers to invite clubless and inactive players to the national team.
Last week, Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr invited 24 players to prosecute two African Cup of Nations qualifiers against Benin Republic and Lesotho later this month. However, his list included skipper Ahmed Musa, who is currently clubless and who has not kicked a ball since October last year.
Battered by the outcry over his decision, Mr Rohr was forced to justify his selection by saying that Musa would not be playing but was just in the squad to motivate the players. However, Amunike, who was a Super Eagles player himself, said the NFF should properly screen future lists and get Mr Rohr to defend his choices before the final list of players for every game is officially made public.
Amunike, who has just been made a member of the Fifa Study Group, said inviting the clubless Musa, who has not been active in football for five months, was wrong. He urged the NFF to set a template for coaches to follow while picking players for matches, adding that the absence of such rules would give room for all manner of people to find their way into the national teams.
“I don’t have anything against Ahmed Musa, in fact, I was among those who recommended him for the national team following his displays for his club against my team Ocean Boys in the Nigerian league. He is a good player but sentiments aside, Ahmed Musa does not have any business with the national team because he has been absence from football for five months.
“If he is coming to motivate the players, fine but coming as part of the team is not fair on other players who deserve to be in the Eagles list. In Spain, where I played and even in Germany, where Rohr hails from, he cannot invite a player that is not active in football for five months.
“Rohr is a foreign coach but it is quite unfortunate he is working in a country that does not really pay attention to some key issues. As a coach in Tanzania, I called a press conference and defend each player I want to invite before bringing out the list officially to the public.
“It is good for a coach to defend his team list for transparency sake. In the past, when Nigerian teams meet Asians it was easy for us to beat them in football but these days, it is not like that,” Amunike added.
He advised the NFF and football stakeholders to start working on developing and impacting new strategies to young players in academies and grassroots teams to meet the high level of competition on the global stage. As Nigeria’s U17 coach, Amunike won the Fifa World Cup in 2015.