Former Golden Eaglets coach, John Obuh, has blamed the Nigeria Football Federation for the continuous exclusion of local players from the Super Eagles, The PUNCH reports.

Eagles head coach, Jose Peseiro, literarily shut the door on the home-based players for the inconsequential last game of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Sao Tome and Principe in September, despite having booked their ticket with a game to spare.

While four Nigerian Professional Football League players were part of the squad that defeated Sierra Leone in Liberia last Sunday, they didn’t get to play eventually.

The 63-year-old, in his post-match interview after the 3-2 win over the Leone Stars, maintained that disrupting the roster for new faces in the team will affect the progress of the squad.

“Against Sao Tome, of course, we have to create more dynamics and organisation. If I change, how can I improve the team for AFCON? However, the door of the Super Eagles is open for everybody.”

Peseiro’s comments raised concerns among some football faithful but Obuh, while speaking with The PUNCH, said the tactician should not be blamed.

“Coaches work under a contract and their comments depend on what is in their contracts. As far as I am concerned, what Peseiro said was professional language,” Obuh said.

“He said what needed to be said to move ahead and if it was not supposed to be, his contract would have guided him. The big question is, can he succeed using the home-based players if they force him to use them?

“The late Stephen Keshi did it (using home-based players) and he succeeded, but that doesn’t mean another person will achieve that, and as long as it is not included in his contract, we should allow him to work according to his contract. If we are no longer satisfied, then we bring in our local coaches to work with the Super Eagles. For now, they should allow him do his job.”

Obuh added, “If the home-based players are angry, then they have to be angry with the federation and not with the coach. They should be angry with the people that employed him and did not put in his contract the number of local players that he is supposed to invite at any point in time. As long as that is not in his contract, the coach has the right to do what he wants.

“If the players have anybody to blame, it is the federation and not the coach because I remember when I was preparing the youth team for the second time, the condition that was given to me indicated that if I have any player still eligible to play at the World Cup twice, I should invite them if I wished. When Nigerians were shouting that I was recycling the players that I had, I didn’t pay much attention because it was in the contract that I signed with the federation.

“If the federation wants to help the local players, they should include it in the contracts of expatriates, that they must have at least five local players invited and three playing in the team. There is no way you cannot get good results having three local players alongside the overseas-based players.”



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