Felix Owolabi

Former Green Eagles and IICC Shooting Stars player, Felix Owolabi says current National Team handler, Gernot Rohr must change his scouting targets as Nigeria gets set for a continuation of the qualifying games against Sierra Leone.

Owolabi, speaking on Sportsville said Gernot Rohr must begin to look at the Nigerian League to get a strong base for the Super Eagles.

“I have said it before that the destiny of any country’s football is in the local league and I also know that there are challenges in the league but it is the same system that brought out myself, Christian Chukwu, Emmanuel Okala, Segun Odegbami, and up till Sunday Oliseh, yet somebody is trying to reject it” Owolabi said.

“A good coach must have the ability to discover these players and nurture them to become great.

“I am not saying our League is the best. At this stage, we do not even have sponsors and the Federal Government does not seem interested, but people have a right to talk.”

After the last two friendly games against Algeria (1-0 loss) and Tunisia (1-1), Nigerians expressed their reservations regarding the performance of the Eagles in both games.

Owolabi sees it as normal for people to complain about the performance of the team.

“Number one, you cannot blame Nigerians because they are passionate about the Super Eagles.

“The Super Eagles is an identity, it is a brand and so an average Nigerian will always want the Super Eagles to win. It is about patriotism,” Owolabi said.

In the games against Algeria and Tunisia, the Eagles played mostly like an uninspired bunch lacking motivation.

“If you look at Rohr and why people are talking, it is simple. He went to the World Cup and said they were the youngest team. He was at the AFCON and said he was still building a team. For four good years, I think it would have been enough for any reasonable coach to have a template. The match against Algeria exposed the work of Rohr and I am not too surprised because he is relying so much on the foreign-based players,” Owolabi said.

Felix Owolabi would however not blame Rohr entirely for his reliance on foreign-based players.

“One advantage is that most of our players play in more developed leagues and the man is relying on them, so in a way, he is talking sense, but I am saying that if we rely too on the home front and build and make the league viable and if he does that, any coach that comes to handle the National Team will have little problems.

“Let us work on the local league so that we can be able to get a good foundation from there,” Owolabi said.

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