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Super Eagles: Home and foreign-based controversy

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WATCH DOG By Patrick Andrew

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It’s not exactly the chicken and the egg controversy, which has defies definitive answer, humans not being God and therefore lacking divine wisdom. But controversy it is.
Lately, controversy has raged over who, between the foreign and homed-based players, should be relied upon by the technical crew of the Super Eagles to prosecute the World and Nations Cup qualifiers.
No, it’s not just mere enthusiasts and therefore pedestrian followers of the game that have lent their voices to the debate; coaches, ex-internationals, administrators, politicians and sports journalists, have taken turns to pontificate on the subject depending on each person’s aptitude for jealousy in regard to the Eagles.
And their views are not straight jacketed kind of positions for some are laced with seemly  appropriate technical logic, while others merely but passionately draw conclusions from their past painful experiences where the foreign-based had shown so much complacency and been lackadaisical in their play that it was a regrettable endeavour ferrying them home at an outrageous cost to the nation.  
And yet, not a few also adduced the often nonsensical display from the home-based players during the few instances that they were given opportunities to justify reliance of their services for international campaigns.
However, this later point of argument has been moderated lately by the scintillating performance of a set of homed-based Eagles.  The home-based here defines as players drawn exclusively from the domestic league.
Against the eventual winners of the 2012 Nations Cup, a couple of them put on trial justified their inclusion and when the entire bunch became the focus of the critical klieg light  against Angola they radiate a certain winsome aura but were even to shine like a million stars when they twinkled and awed the Lone Stars of Liberia.
And neither the confidence nor dexterity with which they attended to their business showed any sign of depression when against overwhelming expectation only a handful were handed shirts to file out against the Amavubi of Rwanda.
So heartwarming a performance they put up that many lashed out at Head Coach Stephen Keshi for giving greater consideration to their foreign-based colleagues who, as their custom is, were non-committal and therefore were devoid of creativity and brilliance.
Since then, the call for the coaches to out rightly dispense with the foreign-based has reverberated with recurrent resonance, indeed as had been the disputation over the foolery of adopting such harsh measure.
One is attempted, on the basis of previous heartaches engendered by the flawed performances of the foreign-based players, to lend support to this later position. You know the game generates no little passion and anything that intentionally or inadvertently hurt one’s passion is hardly treated with kid gloves.
This is no different. Their arrogance, disdain for the public feeling whenever they erred and often their insistence on being paid princely bonuses even when they failed to meet minimum expectation sears the already bleeding heart.  Naturally, one wants to knap them off like chip flake.  Not in this instance.
Granted, only less than half a dozen from the legion of Nigerian foreign-based players are known to play week-in-week-out for their respective clubs. Yes, may be Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Peter Odemwingie, Victor Moses, John Micheal Obinna, Kalu Uche, Nnamdi Oduamadi, while the rest are on the fringes of the reserved bench.
Not so the local boys. Please pardon my deployment of local, it’s not meant to be derogatory but merely expression that reminds that they are with us here, not abroad.
These are regulars, even super regulars, and given the facilities and exposures that their oyibo land-based colleagues have would compete favourably if not more with them. After all these so-called foreign-based heroes were largely products from the same local scene with all noticeable frailties.
The point though is that we are rebuilding a team from the wreckages of the 2011 Nations Cup squad, which was almost absolutely exogenous squad. To rebuild, we need all whether foreign or domestic- based players.  Yes, experience is vital so is youthful exuberance, commitment, dedication, and hunger for success.
The foreign-based in the past may have lacked a good chunk of these traits, exhibited disdain for patriotic fervour, but they have international exposure, experience something barely a handful in the possession of their domestic league colleagues.
So blend is inevitable. What is important is the character and vision of the man driving the rebuilding processes. Keshi must dream, aspire, project and craft a squad that reflects and indeed imbibe his vision in order to buy into the greater national aspirations and targets.
That should be the aim, not what league the player plies his trade in because some of the greatest aces have been drawn from the local scenes and as well quite a number of household soccer stars are products of the advanced leagues. The latter mostly lure hitherto relatively unknown precocious from the ashes of obscurity to polish and transform often not the skill but the person. That is simply repackaging the person to better display and sell his talents, period!

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