Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr has insisted that the country’s best players are outside the country.
The Super Eagles under Rohr have only featured overseas-based players with only one home-based player – goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa – regularly invited to the national team.
Also, there were reports that the Nigeria Football Federation plans to influence the German to limit the number of overseas-based players invited for matches due to funding constraints.
But Rohr, who spoke on Monday Night Football on Supersports, said the abrupt end of the Nigeria Professional Football League has made it difficult for him to invite the players from the league.
“The best players are playing in Europe. We have to take the best players, whether they are all playing in Europe or China. I called the (NFF) president (when I saw this report), he couldn’t confirm this. If it costs $10,000 to fly in a player and he comes and scores five goals, that comes down to $2,000 a goal and then it’s not so expensive,” he said.
“In the recent past we have selected some local players but immediately they travel to Europe, where we have to watch them again for a while. Such players like Al-Hassan (Ibrahim) Odey (Stephen) and Eze (Stephen), who was good in CHAN.
“We invited four of them for the last friendly against Liberia where we were able to see them but the main problem is that they have not played league matches in the last three to four months and this would have affected their level of fitness, rhythm and competitiveness.
“But with Imama (Amapakabo), Agu (Aloy) and Salisu Yusuf, who is still assisting us, we are having a look at them and there is still room for any player to join the team.”
He said they are working on getting a regular club for Ezenwa, who has been behind Theophilus Afelokhai in the Enyimba pecking order.
He said, “We have Ezenwa, who is doing well in the team. But we are worried that he is not playing regularly and as such we are working to get him a place where he can compete regularly to ensure that he achieves maximum level of fitness for the team.”
The former Burkina Faso coach denied reports that the NFF had paid his salaries up to December.
“I am just hearing the news as well. However, there is no truth in it because I haven’t been paid till December. But with the progress we are making with the team, we are excited to work ahead and the money issue is not the problem we have for now,” he said.