Despite failing to keep a clean slate in his 100th cap appearance for the Super Eagles in Wednesday’s international friendly against the Crranes of Uganda, former Super Eagles defender Yisa Shofoluwe has praised the goalkeeper for his tenacity. He also dwelled on other issues in this interview curled from Goal.com
I would like you to give a critical assessment of the list submitted by acting coach Daniel Amokachi for the friendly matches coming up this week
Well, I feel the coaches would have taken time to look at the performance of the players at their respective club sides before drafting the list. For instance, while I was in England and was opportune to see Brown Ideye play, I think his invitation was justified because he has been fantastic. It is unfortunate that injury has however stopped him from featuring in the friendly matches .Aside from this, they know what they want.
This list produced 10 domestic-based stars, what does this mean to the Nigeria Professonal Football League?
During my playing days, we had more home-based than foreign-based professionals unlike what we are witnessing today. Inviting over 10 home-based talents is a sign of good things to come. For instance, countries like Algeria and Egypt have more home-based players in their senior national teams. The advantage of this is that it makes the team stronger but not everyone understands this. This is also a testimony to the fact that our local league is growing because you will be amazed at the way the Nigeria Premier League is being monitored.
Since the commencement of the Nigerian topflight this season, away wins and draws have been recorded. How will this help the growth of our league?
This is what we want and a sign of good things to come for the nation. While I was playing, you can win at any venue not minding who is at home or away. If you refuse to play well at home, you are rest assured that you will lose. Recording away wins at the beginning of the season will only help in making the league very strong and competitive and it will enable one to identify the good players and good coaches. In European leagues, you see cases where [visiting] teams go to silence their hosts. That should be the standard here too.
With Nigerian teams’ recent performance in Caf club competitions over the weekend, one is tempted to ask why our football outfits have lost their invincibility on the continent
I will attribute this to managerial problems. Take for instance Dolphins who were sent crashing after failing to turn up for a Caf Confederation Cup game, how do we explain that? Every member of a particular club must work together towards achieving a common goal, and I feel this is missing in our club sides and that is why they have not been able to do well on the continent. Another issue is the delay in payment of players’ salaries in government-owned teams, this affects the morale of players and tell me how you want them to do very well. This is not the same in Europe and we must learn to do things right here.
Coming to the Super Eagles, the back line is one of the weakest link in the team, why was this different in your time when you played as a defender
In the Super Eagles, we are fond of placing the wrong players in the wrong positions. We need to be careful while selecting players for the senior national team because it will surprise you to note that most of our senior national team players don’t understand the basics of football. There should be standard for players’ invitation because it is not a place for any Tom, Dick and Harry as players must justify their invitation. But I can assure you things will change very soon.
Vincent Enyeama made his 100th cap for Nigeria on Wednesday, what is your reaction on this
He is a very brilliant and calm goalkeeper and I want him to do more. It is not easy commanding a regular shirt in Europe. This is the main reason why I like him. It is not easy representing the country for more than 10 years and I can only wish him all the best in his future endeavours and more strength for him.
I’m sure you know the benefits of the NFF planning to celebrate him for this milestone
This is very important and the same is done in Europe too. This is done in Europe and other countries across the globe. This will help to motivate young players to represent the country with the mindset that their efforts will be rewarded.
What should the country’s football authorities do to ensure the Nigeria U20 have a steady progression to the senior national team?
I believe that the NFF are definitely on the right side because these rookies will form the bulk of the Super Eagles tomorrow. These boys are good and must be well monitored so they won’t miss their radar. While I was playing for the Nigeria U-20 team, it was very easy for me to cross to the Super Eagles.