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Nigeria’s Europe-based players are less suitable when facing African teams - Aghahowa

3:53 PM GMT 19/11/2022
Super Eagles, Nigeria
Former Nigeria international Julius Aghahowa has called for the inclusion of more local-based players in the Super Eagles setup.
  • Aghahowa vouches for local-based stars
  • Claims European-based stars lack stamina
  • Reveals he’s supporting Senegal in the World Cup

WHAT HAPPENED? The former striker believes having more players from the Nigeria Professional Football League will help the Super Eagles, especially when it comes to tackling opponents from Africa.

The 40-year-old further believes local-based players are hungrier, have more drive, and will perform better when given a chance to play for the national team.

WHAT HAS BEEN SAID: "Even if it’s one or two, let them have their chance. I remember back in the days we had good players that came from the local league and impressed on the national team," Aghahowa emphasized.

"We are the product of the Nigerian league, we came into the national team and proved ourselves.

"When you come like an underdog from the local league, you have a point to prove, and you want to impress not just yourself but the whole fans. 

"But when you have the whole team coming from Europe, they don’t really have that rough edges around them to withstand these African teams because in Africa it’s a different ball game.

"But I always have the belief in these players, their techniques; there is no question about it. But when it comes to Africa during the qualifiers, you meet strong opponents, those who are ready to die for the game, and we need to have that in the team."

AND WHAT IS MORE: Aghahowa revealed he will be supporting Senegal in the 2022 World Cup finals.

"We have the African champions and I will be going for Senegal," he added.

"But I know they don’t like me very much in Senegal because [of what] I did to them at the Africa Cup of Nations 2000 and Afcon 2002, and they will not forget that.

"Despite that, I will still support them because they worked very hard to become African champions, and they will represent the continent very well."

Then a teenager, Aghahowa scored a brace in 2000 as Nigeria defeated Senegal 2-1 in the quarter-finals. He was also on the scoresheet in 2002, but Nigeria were defeated in the semis by the Teranga Lions, who advanced to the final.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Foreign-based players have always dominated the Super Eagles squad when it comes to international matches.

Recently, Nigeria fielded only locally-based players for their friendly match against Costa Rica on November 10.

But against Portugal, when they lost 4-0, more foreign-based stars were used again.

WHAT NEXT FOR NIGERIA? As they are not part of the World Cup finals in Qatar, the Super Eagles’ focus is on the Afcon qualifiers next year.