A former Nigeria international, Etim Esin, has backed head coach of the Super Eagles, Sunday Oliseh, on his choice of players ahead next month’s 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifier away to Tanzania, warning him that Nigerians are only after positive results from the team. Oliseh had last week reiterated his stand that only players in topflight leagues would be invited to the Super Eagles under him, a proclamation that has sparked furore over the fate of quality players in the lower leagues. The Eagles will play Tanzania in their second match of the qualifiers on September 5 in Dar es Salaam.
But Esin said the coach needed the best players he could get because Nigerians, who supported him for the job, would be the ones to call for his head if the team should fail. “Oliseh is a man with a different philosophy from that which operated in the previous regime,” he said. “He is bringing on board a fresh idea, which is that the players to be invited to the Eagles should be top ones and not just any player from anywhere. “That is a good development because I believe that he is aware that the only concern of Nigerians is the result that the team churns out.
“The Eagles have disappointed Nigerians in recent times and they would love to see a different team with good results. If they don’t get that, they would call for his head “So, if that is what would ensure the team succeeds in their matches, Oliseh should stick by it.” The former midfielder added that Oliseh’s stand on the home-based players would spur the country’s league administrators to increase the standard of the league. He said: “He is not saying the local players won’t play in the Eagles but if they are not up to the standard he has set, he should leave them out.
“The Nigerian league would be better for it if the administrators see the team doing well and none of the local league players are there. It will give them thoughts that they need to wake up and make the league more competitive. “All Oliseh needs now is the support he is getting and he should just go ahead and pick the best players for the team as he deems fit.” Meanwhile, Taifa Stars of Tanzania were expected to assemble in Dare es Salaam yesterday to prepare for the game. The team, trained by Charles Boniface Mkwasa, were to assemble at Tansoma Hotel.