Former international, Felix Owolabi, has expressed shock that the media hyped the Super Eagles 10-0 bashing of Sao Tome and Principe in the match day two of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying series played on Monday in Morocco.
He said the high score line success would have served as a succour to his frustration about the running of the country’s football if the team comprised both Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) and their foreign counterparts.
“I was shocked with the various media headlines on the 10-0 Eagles’ victory over Sao Tome and Principe. I cannot believe that Nigerians would be celebrating a 10-0 victory over an Island, and in the process the media are talking about breaking a record created some years ago.
“It is a shame that we are celebrating a win over an Island and we call that a big win. The question we should ask is, why didn’t we beat Sierra Leone with the same margin? Also, can we beat Cameroun with that same score line or even against the Ghanaian team?” he asked.
Owolabi, who holds a Ph.D. in Physical Education, added, “Supposing Eagles had beaten Sao Tome and Principe with some of the home-based players in the Eagles, at least I would have been glad with the result. But that the team was made up of wholly foreign-based players does not call for any jubilation.
“Where I want Nigerian football to be is far above where it is now that you, journalists, are writing about on the pages of newspapers. As I keep saying, the local league is the bedrock of any nation’s football and nothing is being done towards uplifting it from the current pedestal level,” he said.
He regretted that the standard of Nigerian clubs has fallen such that the country no longer features at the business end of continental competitions.
Owolabi added: “During my days in our domestic league, IICC was on the same level with Al Ahly, Zamelek, TP Mazembe and the rest of them. But now, what do you see? You see Nigerian clubs going into CAF competitions and crashing out either in the preliminary or at the group stage. There are many things to fix in our football, but we are not ready to tackle them.”
Culled from the Guardian