Nigerian League legend, Victor Ezeji has advised Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL players to work hard to make it to the National Team.
Ezeji remains the only Nigerian to play twenty seasons in the topflight league and in a live interview on a Lagos based radio station, Lagos Talks, the former goal poacher says only hard work can do it.
“Let me use myself as an example. In 2002 I was top scorer in the league, and I was invited to the National Team. I got there and in two friendly matches, I got two hattricks.
“Christian Chukwu had no option than to include me in the team. I was not there because someone recommended me. I worked hard in the league and in the AFCON Qualifier against Angola, I played. This was because I worked hard in the League and was recognized then I got my invitation,” Ezeji said
But he queried the fact that sometimes these players work hard yet are not seen by the selectors.
“If players work so hard then they are not even seen, it is a problem.
“There is no way you will tell me that in the entire NPFL that has over six hundred players you will not find one that can enter into the National Team,” Ezeji said.
“I am not saying you take players just because they play in the Nigerian League, no! but if players work hard, they should be invited.
“Another example is when they called up twenty-four players for the game against Sierra Leone, not Cote’ D’Ivoire or some other country like Egypt or Algeria, yet there were no players in the League invited for the game. Inside these twenty-four, at most thirteen will play the game.
“It doesn’t make sense that players are invited from all over the world and some of them ended up not even dressing up for the game yet there are a lot of hardworking players in the League who deserve a chance. Nigeria has a lot of raw talent and everyone must get equal opportunities,” Ezeji said.
When asked the way forward for the League, considering the thirtieth year of professional football in Nigeria, Ezeji said ever one must be professional about it.
“Moving forward, everybody has to be professional, the players, coaches, referees and the League Management Company as well.”
The former Enyimba goal poacher also hammered on the lack of sponsorship in the NPFL where he said such projects have moved beyond producing banners.
“Sponsorship has gone beyond creating banners. There has to be content in the League clubs and players to attract sponsors.”
Ezeji played in the NPFL for twenty years and has arguably been the most successful and longest playing player in the League.
He won two Africa Champions League titles with Enyimba and has played 8 international matches for Super Eagles of Nigeria.