19 January 2013

Nigeria: Akpoborie, Pascal Disagree Over Foreign-Based Eagles

Two former internationals, Jonathan Akpoborie and Patrick Pascal have disagreed over the decision of Chief Coach of the Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi to give good chances for the home-based players to prove themselves at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.

Keshi had declared his readiness to take a risk by giving six players of Nigeria Premier League, NPL in his Nations Cup squad chances to prove themselves, a clear departure from the 2008 and 2010 editions of the African championship where only foreign based stars made the competition.

While Pascal, a member of the gold medal winning Nigerian team at the Atlanta 96 Olympics, was in support of Keshi for having confidence on the local players, Akpoborie said that the coach would have himself to blame as the local lads may disappoint him at crucial moments in the Nations Cup.

"Foreign based players are just living on past glories so relying on them at this Nations Cup would not make sense. I'm glad that some of the local players are in Keshi's team. This would give the coach the options of making good selection and right plans in their matches," said Pascal.

"From past experience, these professionals won't take the risk by playing aggressive football which is what we need if Nigeria want to win the Nations Cup, but the local players would see the championship as a platform to prove themselves to the world. So I will advise Keshi not to rely on the foreign based players too much," he said.

For Akpoborie, the foreign based stars are coming to the Nations Cup with experience they have garnered at their different clubs abroad.

"I don't think the home based players can make any impact at this Nations Cup and Keshi would rely on them at his own peril. In terms of experience, they cannot match the professionals. Other countries came to the Nations Cup with their best players. So you want us to feature an inexperienced team against a star studded team like the Elephants of Ivory Coast?

"I think the best approach Keshi can use at this tournament is to feature his best and his best can only be seeing in those foreign based stars," he said

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