Pinnick: Why we prefer foreign based players

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The Nigeria Football Federation president, Amaju Pinnick has said Nigeria will continue to give preference to foreign-based stars and players raised and trained abroad over their local league counterparts.

According to him, the current stale condition of the local league is the reason home-based players find it difficult to earn Super Eagles call-ups.

There have been calls from different quarters, especially from ex-internationals, asking the head coach of the Super Eagles, Gernot Rohr, to introduce more home-based stars in the national team.

The German tactician has rarely given much room in his team for players plying their trade in the Nigeria Professional Football League, the country’s top division. Only Heartland’s goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa has enjoyed a lengthy run with the team in recent times.

Pinnick often travels around the world, trying to convince football stars of Nigeria descent to feature for their fatherland.

The likes of Victor Moses, Leon Balogun, William Troost-Ekong, and Ola Aina switched international allegiances to play for the Super Eagles.

Still expected to follow suit are the trio of Ademola Lookman, Chuba Akpom, and Belgian born Cyriel Dessers.

Pinnick has revealed that even those will not be the last of their kind as Nigeria continue to emulate other African countries that follow the same template.

“Why do we have to go out to pick players? Why do we look at our league and say it is not good enough? You look at what happens in other countries. Who started this? Algeria,” the NFF boss told The Punch.

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“If you look at most players who play for Algeria today, (Riyad) Mahrez, he was born in France. Islam Slimani was born abroad too. They (Algeria) went for these players.

“A couple of years ago, it was Nigeria that demystified them (Algeria). They went and came back stronger. Morocco adopted it.

“We will not say because we are patriotic we will allow our players here to take charge. Truth be told, most players from the western climes are better exposed and are highly trained than what we can get here. The equipment they are exposed to is another factor too.”

Pinnick is a big admirer of Queens Park Rangers’ youngster, Ebere Eze, and he has been pulling all the stops to convince the talented midfielder to play for the Super Eagles.

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