Super Eagles need home-based players, sacking Peseiro not solution: Friday Ekpo

Ex-international, Friday Ekpo, says sacking Super Eagles Head Coach, José Peseiro, is not as crucial as adding fresh home-based and foreign professionals to key departments of the team.

Ekpo said this on Tuesday in Lagos against the backdrop of Super Eagles unimpressive performance in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.

Super Eagles drew 1-1 in Uyo on matchday one against Lesotho, a team that has never qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations.

A few days later, the Super Eagles were held to another 1-1 draw against Zimbabwe in Rwanda to bag only two points from their first two games.

The Portuguese has been under immense criticism after guiding the three-time African champions to two disappointing results in November.

Mr Ekpo, a former Super Eagles midfielder, appealed to the Nigeria Football Federation not to heed the call by football enthusiasts to sack the coach.

“I’m not calling for Jose’s head like most people are doing, sacking him will be counterproductive at this point in time. These results can be reversed in subsequent matches.

“My only concern is that we shouldn’t have only foreign based players in the team, because selecting his team for matches will be tough. No foreign-based player would like to leave their clubs just for them to come and seat on the bench, we have done it in the past and it worked, we can do that again,” he said.

Mr Peseiro is set to submit a 55-man provisional list ahead of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations on December 14.

The participating countries can name a maximum 27 players in their squad for the 2023 AFCON finals as against the usual 23. The final roster is expected to be submitted by January 3, 2024.

Mr Ekpo, a member of the 1992 African Cup of Nation squad, said that the victory of Super Eagles at the 2013 AFCON was sealed by a home-based player at the time, Sunday Mba.

“Sunday Mba was a Warrior Wolves of Asaba player. The late Stephen Keshi did that, and the result was glaring. Moreover, this is the only way we can truly develop our domestic league. We all want results but it’s important we pay attention to history and learn from it,” he said.


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